Letter to the L.A. County Medical Association
The L.A. County Medical Association released a letter opposing Prop 86. I'm sorry I didn't have time to write this earlier, but the wedding thing kind of kept me busy. I was going through my "filing system" (stacks of papers and journals on my desk) and came across the letter today. Reading it, I was appalled by how ulterior motives become obvious and even those that are supposed to be representing our formerly noble profession are seduced by power, politics, and money. There is a bit more discourse on the matter below in the blog, but here is the letter:
I was disappointed to see Prop 86 fail and even more disappointed to see politically connected physicians campaign against an obviously necessary proposition. As an ER physician, we see smoking-related illness on the front lines on a daily basis and the social and economic hardships that go along with it. A very large percentage of smokers seen in the ER are also on public assistance programs such as MediCAl or MediCare, services supported by our tax dollars. There is currently no self-policing or accountability built in to our public services, something that is direly necessary if these systems are to survive. By implementing Prop 86 we would have made is somewhat less affordable for lower income people to smoke and put money back into the emergency system that is responsible for providing emergency care as well as more and more primary care.
In an ideal world, we would assume that the hospitals will use the money from Prop 86 fairly and for what it was intended. We of course cannot guarantee that this will be done, but this seems to be the basis for your entire argument against it. Your statement that "this proposition would hurt access to healthcare, force physicians to abandon the emergency medical care system, and reduce the quality of healthcare in California." is preposterous. There is no logic or reason to the statement. It is an generic, arbitrarily written, negative paragraph showing that you are sorely disconnected from the emergency system and have no insight whatsoever as to what is seen in our ERs daily and how discouraging smoking and increasing funding for care related to it is important.
I am sorry that the tobacco companies have gotten to you first and that you feel loyalty to them and your political agenda is more important than your duties as a physician.
Clint Slaughter, M.D.
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