"I do solemnly swear that I will ... faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God." Like millions of other Americans, I watched our elected leaders with growing frustration as they willfully ignored "We the People" and brazenly rammed through their government takeover of the world's finest health care system. Now, I confess that I may take this a little too personally. After all, I'm not only a practicing physician, but I am President Obama's cousin.
Not long ago, I made one of the most difficult - yet in some ways easiest - decisions of my life. I decided to "go public" with my opposition to this massive overhaul. Many years ago, I took an oath to my patients that I would provide them with medical care to the best of my ability. After reviewing the provisions contained in this ill-considered new law, I feel duty-bound to take a stand for my patients and against this disastrous plan.
Before the vote, I traveled to Washington in hopes of meeting with my representative, Dennis Moore, Kansas Democrat, to ask him questions about the bill. Sadly, he refused to meet with me. I submitted those questions that I would have asked him to The Washington Times. Later, I was touched to learn that thousands of Americans who were flocking to Washington on their own desperate missions printed out my questions in hopes that someone would answer them. It does not speak well for our Congress that to this day, not one single representative has.
Instead of our elected Representatives in Congress giving us answers, they regurgitated talking points (if they could be bothered to address us at all). Instead of thoughtful, needed health care reform, they arrogantly forced upon us the largest expansion of government power and largest intrusion into our lives that our nation has ever seen.
Our congressmen like to tell us how this plan will cut deficits, lower costs, increase competition and improve quality of health care. We've heard it all before. But what you haven't heard are the specific provisions this plan "provides."
This is a plan that adds 16,000 new tax collectors but not a single new doctor or nurse. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine published a survey recently that revealed almost half of practicing physicians would seriously consider leaving medicine if the health care overhaul passed into law. But this didn't stop Congress. Your elected officials are just fine imposing a plan on you that will drive more doctors away from Medicare and leave legions of patients stranded without care.
This is a plan that levies new taxes on everything from tanning salons to tampons, due and payable today, if you please. But many of the health care "benefits" will not be available until years from now. If it seems like your elected Congress members don't seem to care, why should they? They exempted themselves from the law.
This is a plan that, hidden deep within its 2,700 pages, is the very rationing of health care that this Congress and, regrettably, this president has claimed is not there.
Recently, Dennis Moore was finally cornered and made the stunning - though not surprising - confession that he had not read the health care bill before voting for it. On March 24, Mr. Moore was asked one of my own questions by Ellen Schenk of News Radio 980 KMBZ if the scheme to financially penalize family doctors for referring patients to specialists was still in the bill. She reminded him that this scheme raises concern for the very health care rationing that he has said is not there.
His answer exposed just how little he actually knew about the bill: "I don't know. And I will find out. But I don't know if that's in there. This is, as you know, a multi-hundred, several hundred pages of bill, but uh, uh, I'll check with Dr. Wolf directly, too, and talk to him and find out what, what, what his concern is because I don't know that."
Mr. Moore, you refused to read the bill before foisting it upon us. You swore to us that health care rationing was not in it. When you were asked to discuss specific provisions in the bill, you said no. Your actions are worse than dishonest. They represent a dereliction of duty. You refused to perform the most basic function of your office: to read a bill before voting for it.
As a result of your dereliction, patients will suffer and lives will be lost. Because of your reckless abandonment of your duty to Kansans, families will be shattered. Your profound arrogance and cavalier disregard for the needs of your constituents make you dangerous. It's sad but true: You have not faithfully discharged your sworn duties as a United States congressional representative.
Mr. Moore, every day you are allowed to stay in office is a day that permits you to cast a vote that puts our state and our nation at risk. If you will enthusiastically pass the largest government takeover of medicine in American history without even reading it first, what else are you willing to do? What else have you already done?
Today our nation is at a crossroads and it cries out for leadership. We looked to you and you turned your back. So now we will provide that leadership. We will hold this Congress accountable, one member at a time. I will be steadfast and faithful to my oath.
Dennis Moore, for the sake of my patients, for the sake of our state, and for the sake of our nation, you must be recalled. So help me God.
Dr. Milton R. Wolf is a radiologist in Kansas. He is Barack Obama's second cousin once removed.