Earlier this week on Monday, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), a member of the Republican Doctors Caucus and a strong opponent of health reform, hosted a town hall with members of the Red River Tea Party. After providing a long speech blasting Democrats for supposedly trying to turn the country into a “Western European Socialist economy,” Fleming engaged in a question and answer period.
Referencing the right-wing urologist in Florida who put up a sign stating, “if you voted for Obama … seek urologic care elsewhere,” an audience member asked Fleming why more doctors have not similarly said they will refuse to treat Obama voters. Fleming strangely suggested that the doctor has a “First Amendment” right to deny care based on political affiliation — a right that appears nowhere in the Constitution.
In any case, announcing to the crowd that he supports the Florida doctor refusing care to Obama voters, Fleming said, “I applaud what he said and did.” Fleming’s only hesitation was that the media would “demonize” the tea parties and doctors for discriminating against patients based on politics:
Q: Why don’t more doctors do like the doctor, the urologist in Florida has done and refuse to take it and put up a sign. Then what can they do? They can’t put them all in jail or what will happen?
FLEMING: Her question is what about this urologist in Florida who put up a sign “if you voted for Obama, you need not come here for care.” Yeah — I applaud what he said and did and it’s his First Amendment right to do that. The problem that you get into is that you have to be very careful the media doesn’t demonize you as they often —
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), the member who represents the district of the Florida doctor discriminating against Obama voters, said, “maybe he thinks the Hippocratic Oath says, ‘Do no good.’ If this is the face of the right-wing in America, it’s the face of cruelty.” The doctor is not only cruel, but misinformed. Alan Colmes, in an interview with the doctor, asked a rudimentary question about reform and changes to Medicare Advantage. The doctor replied that he doesn’t know “exactly what the deal is,” and sheepishly added that he gets his information “online, just like any other American.”
Fleming is one of the many Republican lawmakers fighting to repeal health reform. Repeating one of the regular false right-wing talking points, Fleming bellowed during the town hall that reform will mean “bureaucrats” in “between you and your doctor.” In fact, Fleming and his allies would like to see ugly partisan politics inserted in between patients and their doctors.