American Surgeons Challenge Obama’s Lies

American College of Surgeons | Aug. 13, 2009

Statement from the American College of Surgeons Regarding Recent Comments from President Obama

The American College of Surgeons is deeply disturbed over the uninformed public comments President Obama continues to make about the high-quality care provided by surgeons in the United States. When the President makes statements that are incorrect or not based in fact, we think he does a disservice to the American people at a time when they want clear, understandable facts about health care reform. We want to set the record straight.

Yesterday during a town hall meeting, President Obama got his facts completely wrong. He stated that a surgeon gets paid $50,000 for a leg amputation when, in fact, Medicare pays a surgeon between $740 and $1,140 for a leg amputation. This payment also includes the evaluation of the patient on the day of the operation plus patient follow-up care that is provided for 90 days after the operation. Private insurers pay some variation of the Medicare reimbursement for this service.

Three weeks ago, the President suggested that a surgeon’s decision to remove a child’s tonsils is based on the desire to make a lot of money. That remark was ill-informed and dangerous, and we were dismayed by this characterization of the work surgeons do. Surgeons make decisions about recommending operations based on what’s right for the patient.

We agree with the President that the best thing for patients with diabetes is to manage the disease proactively to avoid the bad consequences that can occur, including blindness, stroke, and amputation. But as is the case for a person who has been treated for cancer and still needs to have a tumor removed, or a person who is in a terrible car crash and needs access to a trauma surgeon, there are times when even a perfectly managed diabetic patient needs a surgeon. The President’s remarks are truly alarming and run the risk of damaging the all-important trust between surgeons and their patients.

We assume that the President made these mistakes unintentionally, but we would urge him to have his facts correct before making another inflammatory and incorrect statement about surgeons and surgical care.

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Comments

  1. Jim Holman says:

    “Yesterday during a town hall meeting, President Obama got his facts completely wrong. He stated that a surgeon gets paid $50,000 for a leg amputation when, in fact, Medicare pays a surgeon between $740 and $1,140 for a leg amputation.”

    Well, the total cost can easily be around $40,000:

    “According to a study published in 2007 in The Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association (JAPMA), the overall estimated cost of a lower-leg amputation can range from $30,000 to $40,000, which includes fees for hospital stays, medical specialists, post operative care and physician reimbursement.”
    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/american-podiatric-medical-association-corrects-presidents-misstatement-on-foot-amputation-costs,930409.shtml

    Obama’s mistake — not lie — was to attribute the total cost to the physician.

  2. Blog-Editor says:

    Thanks Jim for confirming that Obama did lie. Also, thank you for confirming how little BO knows even about one type of surgery and actual costs charged by surgeons, let alone our entire health care system and the intricate health care costs for various procedures. Yet, this incompetent president wants to completely restructure one sixth of our economy with a bill he has not read and do it all in a month! What lunacy!

  3. #1

    Obama’s mistake — not lie — was to attribute the total cost to the physician.

    Was it a mistake, or lie?

    If lie, we are dealing with a truly unscruplous person, willing to lie, grossly mislead, or whatever, for the sake of his political goals.

    If mistake, we are dealing with a person who can’t distinguish between the concepts of revenue and profit. A mistake endemic on the Left and routinely made by the New York Times, for example. Such a person has no business trying to foist massive changes on the American economy.

  4. i think what we’re really dealing with is a conflict between christian and baalist (secular liberal) worldviews; ie the gospel vs new age sob stories and the left’s god as an apotheosis of the secular state. obama bey is no idiot, but rather a fool who says in his heart that there is no (christian) god