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Five single-payer protestors arrested.  And so it begins.  MSNBC’s Ken Strickland reported the arrest of five protesters at a Senate hearing on healthcare reform.   Why am I not surprised?   It seems the Senate Finance Committee had a roundtable discussion with “experts” but declined to invite physicians or nurses. So, they invited themselves.

25 nurses stood up wearing red shirts with signs taped on their backs that read “Nurses say patients first. Pass single payer.”  They stood for five minutes, turned their backs and walked out silently.  Message received.  However, shortly thereafter, the physicians had another agenda.  Someone shouted, “We want guaranteed healthcare.  We’re tired of private insurance” leading to their arrests.  The chaos reminded me of the refrain from the 1976 movie, Network:  “I’m mad as hell; and I’m not going to take it anymore.”  Something has to give.

I implore all Americans to beg the following questions:  Why does an IUD in Egypt cost $20.00 but the American version $400.00?  Retin A cost $10.00 in a Mexican drugstore but $95.00 in a U.S. pharmacy.    God bless Wal-Mart for the $4.00 generic drugs.  And thank you Publix for your free drugs as well but it’s still not enough although every little bit DOES help. 

I’m presently in the midst of a pitched battle with a local hospital who “sold” my bill to a New York City commercial bank with an interest rate of ten percent.  I’m determined to pay it in full.  They will NOT profit from my pain and suffering.   

I encourage all of my colleagues to be relentless and ride this train to the end of the line.  If not us, then who?  If not now, then when?  It’s time for us to take back our profession.