By Dr. Hal Scherz and Dr. Tod Rubin
The Obama presidential campaign has no choice, but to gloss over 4 years of failure in delivering on promises of hope and change, transparency and bipartisanship. His team must rely on a strategy which they are all too familiar and comfortable with- division and distraction. They have sought to manufacture schisms within our society, attempting to pit Americans against one another and blame Republicans, rather than engage in constructive debate and defense of their record. One such distraction is the phony "war against women", supposedly being waged by the GOP.
Who better to perpetrate this lie, than the new Democrat darling, Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke? She is a creation of the mainstream media who has manufactured outrage over the fact that taxpayers don't want to pay for her contraception. President Obama has contributed to the creation of this caricature by talking about her and campaigning with her. She is, in fact, scheduled to be a featured speaker at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. Ms. Fluke is a Democrat "flunkee"; an instrument that they are using to put a face on a specious argument - that the GOP does not care for women's reproductive rights. Ms. Fluke is a willing accomplice , all for that fleeting 15 minutes of fame.
Despite all of her feigned bluster and indignation, Ms. Fluke's attempts to make a convincing argument that there actually is a war against women, ignore the real fact; that President Obama and the left have actually declared war against ALL women, not just those of child bearing age, with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare). He did so by endangering the viability of Medicare- a healthcare program that is already teetering on the edge of insolvency, with $38 Trillion in unfunded liabilities and that covers 22 million women, or one in five adult women- by looting $716 billion from it to pay for a new entitlement program. According to the Kaiser Foundation, 57% of Medicare recipients are women, so the cuts in the program disproportionately affect women.
In 2010, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a federal advisory panel, made the recommendation that screening mammography for breast cancer should no longer be recommended for women under age 50. Where was the indignation from Ms. Fluke and the Democrats over this decision and how is this any less of an assault on women's health? Under Obamacare, this advisory board will be replaced by an official department; one of the 159 new agencies created by the new healthcare law. This central planning committee will make decisions about women's health behind closed doors and this board is answerable only to the new healthcare czar, the Secretary of Health & Human Services.
Another board created by Obamacare is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which is possibly the most pernicious of the new regulatory boards. Their sole purpose is to slow the growth of Medicare, armed with only one mechanism to accomplish this- reduce the amount of money that Medicare will pay for services. This 15 member board of bureaucrats without a single practicing physician on it, decides what the value of medical treatments should be. They are unaccountable to anyone, and their decisions are final. There is no recourse, no appeal. The IPAB curbs costs by "covertly" rationing care. They will do so by making it economically unfeasible for physicians to provide certain services by decreasing the reimbursement that physicians get paid for providing them. If physicians lose money by performing certain procedures, they will stop doing them. Procedures such as hip replacement, hysterectomy, cataract surgery and others which the predominantly elderly female population receives, will most certainly be casualties.
The "war on women" constitutes a desperate attempt by President Obama, the left, and the mainstream media, to create a non-existent narrative, which in actuality, describes their actions rather than those of the GOP. Ersatz feminists, like Sandra Fluke, are silent on real women's issues - like salary inequality- which has drastically worsened as a result of the President's economic policies. And they are nowhere to be found when Republican women are crucified by the media, simply for harboring conservative views.
This tactic is destined to fail because President Obama underestimates women and does not give them enough credit. They are smarter than he thinks and most will see through this charade. What is most disheartening is the fact that people like Sandra Fluke are so easily manipulated and cannot or will not acknowledge what is best for ALL women- the freedom to make their own healthcare decisions, not the government.
Hal Scherz is the President & Founder of Docs4PatientCare. He is a full time pediatric urologist at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta and a clinical associate professor of urology at Emory University.
Dr. Tod Rubin is a practicing anesthesiologist in Atlanta, Georgia and is on the Executive Board of Docs4PatientCare