"Government Should Not Direct the Practice of Medicine," Say Panel of MN Physicians and Business Owners

(St. Paul, Minnesota) - To counter the support of the Minnesota Medical Association and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce for "best practices" health care legislation, Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC) brought together a panel of 4 physicians and 3 business owners today to discuss the issue with the news media:

  • Dr. Paul Bearmon, MD
  • Mel Brandl, owner, Printmaster
  • Dr. Steve Brzica, MD
  • Dr. Dale Hammerschmidt, MD
  • Dr. Spencer Johnson, MD
  • Harold Hamilton, owner, Micro Control Company
  • William Wenmark, owner, Now Care Medical Centers

"Government Will Tell Doctors How to Practice Medicine" was the heading of a large display board that listed and described government actions authorized by the House and Senate Health and Human Services Omnibus bills, HF 1681 and SF 1760:

  • Impose Bias
  • Collaborate with HMOs
  • Practice Medicine
  • Violate Privacy
  • Coerce Doctors
  • Control Doctors
  • Penalize Non-Compliance

"If the proposed legislation becomes law, state government will be empowered to direct patient care-quite simply, to, disease by disease, tell your doctors how to practice medicine," said Twila Brase, president of CCHC.

"The doctor-patient relationship will be done. The doctor-bureaucrat relationship will begin," said Dr. Steve Brzica, MD, anesthesiologist at Fairview Southdale Hospital.

"If we're going to use a cookbook approach, perhaps we should computerize the process and eliminate doctors," said Harold Hamilton, tongue-in-cheek. Hamilton, owner of Micro Control Company, noted that individual doctors do better than bureaucracies in determining what is best for patients.

The Health and Human Services omnibus bills which contain the "best practices" proposal have passed both the House and Senate and await conference committee action. The Governor signaled his support for the proposal in his State of the State address, saying his administration will "force health care providers to use best practices."

"This is a dangerous proposal, yet there has been virtually no public debate about it. The public must be informed about this proposal before the legislature requires their doctors to work for government first and patients second," concluded Brase.