Jewish World Review Oct. 20, 1999 /10 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760
Don't doctor the law
THE MEDICAL LOBBY thinks it has all the right cures for
the body politic. Here at an annual meeting of the American Academy of
Pediatrics, doctors hawked cough syrup, baby diapers, legislative pills,
and jumbo government band-aids.
The AAP prides itself on being a "progressive" group. Try patronizing and
meddlesome. The organization's mission is not merely to advance the best
health interests of pediatricians and their young patients, but to advocate
aggressively for legal and policy changes that reach "beyond private
practices, hospitals, classrooms and laboratories." That means reaching
far and deep into the chambers of Congress, courtrooms, school districts,
private homes, and yes, into the pockets of taxpayers.
In his speech to AAP members last week, President Clinton joked that "all
the politicians here have a lot in common with doctors. We all want to
prescribe medicine, and no one wants to take it." Haw-haw-haw. The
audience had a hearty laugh, but a closer look at the AAP agenda is
sobering. What we have here are aspiring executors of the Nanny State:
-- The All-Terrain Vehicle Regulation Act. Not content to leave the
regulation of these recreational fun machines to individuals and states,
the pediatricians' group wants a wholesale ban on three-wheeled ATVs,
vehicle registration and insurance requirements, and a prohibition on
operation of ATVs by anyone under 16 years of age.
-- The Graduated Drivers' Licensing Act. Unwilling to trust the good
judgment of parents, driving instructors, and 50 state motor vehicle
bureaucracies, the AAP proposes a nationalized licensing to expose teens
"to more favorable conditions under which they can develop good driving
skills...in accordance with the development of their experience, judgment,
and driving record."
-- The Personal Flotation Device Act. Peddling an unenforceable mandate
that would substitute federal authority for common sense, the doctors'
lobby would require every person under the age of 18 to wear a U.S. Coast
Guard-approved personal flotation device while on a vessel under 24 feet in
-- The Swimming Pool Safety Act. Without providing evidence that this
intervention would significantly reduce accidental deaths and injuries, the
AAP proposes overriding the discretion of municipalities and homeowners by
requiring all private pool owners to erect enclosures around their swimming
-- Doctors first, parents later. The organization lobbies for increased
family planning funding and "youth development" programs in public schools.
It opposes parental consent laws for abortion and supports efforts to
secure "confidentiality in adolescent health care."
-- Gun control. The AAP supports a nationwide ban on handguns, air guns
and assault weapons. The group has also proposed regulation of handgun
ammunition and product liability actions - that is, taxation through
litigation. The group cites reams of alarming statistics, but Dr. Miguel
Faria, a Georgia neurosurgeon and former medical journal editor, notes:
"Medical costs saved by guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are 15
times greater than costs incurred by criminal uses of firearms."
"Instead of providing a balanced and fair approach seeking truth and
objectivity," Faria says, "the medical literature echoes the emotionalism
and rhetoric of the mass media." Millions of tax dollars fuel hysteria by
funding biased gun-control research at the National Center for Injury
Prevention and Control division of the Centers for Disease Control.
-- Cultural policing. The AAP pushed the Children's Television Act of
1990, which mandates three hours of educational programming for children
per week. The group also endorses government schemes for content-based TV
While this doctors' association may not care much for freedom, it is all
for getting things free. Among its top legislative issues in Congress are
the Children's Hospital bill (which would increase federal subsidies for
graduate medical education through Medicare) and the Improved Maternal and
Children's Health Improvement Act (which would replace current Medicaid and
state health insurance programs with a mandatory national program that has
no income requirements).
Every insurance plan in this universal coverage scheme would, naturally, be
required to meet the AAP's benefit standards.
The public arena is full of irksome nosybodys, but be most wary of the ones
with white coats and tongue depressors. Kiddie docs are accustomed to
coercion. It's a professional mandate. How else to get a squirming
patient to sit still and swallow his medicine? Force-feeding is a fine
approach for two-year-olds. It is not, however, the way to run a society
founded on personal and economic
JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.
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©1999, Creators Syndicate