April 28 2011
Today the Heritage Foundation awarded its 2011 Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship to Hal Scherz, the MD who founded Docs 4 Patient Care and now serves as the group's president.
I met Scherz recently at a Galen Institute event, and had the chance to hear him talk about the work he is doing with Docs 4 Patient Care. The group is a voluntary association of medical doctors who want "the establishment of a health care system that preserves the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship, promotes quality of care, supports affordable access to all Americans, and protects patients' freedom of choice."
With this kind of mission statement, it's no wonder that Docs 4 Patient Care opposes Obama's health reform law.
Heritage vice president of American Studies Matthew Spalding said of Scherz:
"A modern-day Paul Revere, Hal Scherz set out to warn his profession and his fellow citizens of the federal government's bureaucratic destruction of the American health care system through the takeover that came to be known as Obamacare."
Scherz considers fighting ObamaCare to be part of his mission as a doctor. To most effectively treat his patients, and to allow other MD's to do the same, Scherz is dedicated to supporting public policy that keeps the government out of the doctor-patient relationship.
He has written before that "doing nothing" about public policy is "no longer an option" for doctors. Otherwise, groups that pretend to speak for the entire medical profession (like the American Medical Association) will go on supporting the government takeover of health care - and worse - misleading the American public to believe that their doctors support it too.
This reminds me of a scene from the movie "The Patriot." The pastor of a small town leaves to go with the militia to fight the British. Although he recognizes that it's not normally the role of a pastor to fight in a war, he tells his congregation, "A shepherd must tend his flock, and at times, fight off the wolves."
This is how I see Dr. Scherz: His number one mission, like so many doctors, is to serve his patients. But at times, the doctors who care most about their patients must fight back against the bad policies that threaten their ability to do so.
I congratulate Dr. Scherz, and all the members of Docs 4 Patient Care, for the great work they are doing.