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Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor
To the Editor: I wish to alert my colleagues
of a solicitation they may be receiving that seems to signal new depths in
the health care debate.
I recently received a telephone call from a person in the office of
a prominent congressman, notifying me that I had been nominated to a national
congressional advisory board. There was a recorded message from the congressman
himself saying how important this issue was and how he shared physicians'
concerns with interference from health maintenance organizations and with
declining physician reimbursement. By this time I was feeling quite sympathetic.
I was very interested in serving as an adviser to the government on
the solutions to these problems, but wanted to know what sort of time commitment
I would be making. Remarkably, I was told that no time commitment would be
necessary. I would simply be listed in a full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal as the state chairperson of the advisory
board. In return, it was suggested that I might wish to contribute "perhaps"
$300. Our conversation ended when I stated that this would suggest that I
was in agreement with the congressman regarding his solutions to the health
care problem, and that perhaps more discussion of these problems would be
necessary before I could agree to make a contribution.
I wish to alert other physicians to this situation, so that members
of our profession will not sell their names in the support (but not the actual
advising) of sectors of our government.
Fontanarosa PB, Willett LR. Political Solicitation of Physicians. JAMA. 2000;284(1):41. doi:10.1001/jama.284.1.39
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