Sadness and disappointment, those were the emotions felt after reading a front-page article on political candidate Monica Wehby, M.D. that Jeff Mapes wrote and The Oregonian published in its March 1 edition. Wehby, Mapes writes, is a Portland-based Republican who seeks to be the GOP’s candidate to run against U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, the presumptive Democratic candidate, seeking to serve a second term.
I’m sad and disappointed that another, currently among many medical doctors (in her case, one with a rare talent in Oregon, she being a pediatric neurosurgeon), wants to leave her profession for politics. After all, pediatric neurosurgeons, whose education and training is underwritten by taxpayers, many of whom are parents, save babies; nevertheless, she wants to walk away from her baby-saving job?
The Republican office-holders in D.C., as we know, are a group of politicians representing many states who serve in the U.S. Congress as absolute obstructionists to all things President Obama defends, including to end or significantly reduce all U.S. social and entitlement programs in order to protect the nation’s wealthy and big business executives from their share of the tax burden and do away with much of the federal regulations on business and industry. This means, among federal expenditures, to reduce food stamps for hungry American children and the Head Start program, all of which would seem to contradict a medical doctor’s Hippocratic Oath to do no harm.
According to Mapes, Tennessee-raised Wehby supports, as do Southern doctors in the American Medical Association (AMA), that “doctors should be able to independently contract with Medicare patients.” This change, opposed by the AARP because it will burden the nation’s seniors with higher medical costs, would allow doctors “to drive up rates for Medicare patients.” Do medical doctors in the U.S. really need more money for their services?
Tax filings for 2012 by Randall Children’s Hospital at Portland’s Legacy Emanuel reports her annual salary at $1 million but she will accept the lower $174,000 paid to rank-and-file members of Congress. However, as is generally true, even those of limited means who go to Washington, D.C. to “serve” us for much of any length of time realize riches that would have aroused envy in King Midas of Phrygia, if he were still around.
Wehby has been politically active during her time in Oregon as she was elected president of the Oregon Medical Association (OMA) in 2007 due to, from Mapes’ findings, the fact that she was motivated when tort reform backers on the ballot by a 2004 initiative went down to defeat. In 2009, reports Mapes, “she was featured in a TV commercial denouncing the legislation that would turn into the Affordable Care Act.” So, is Wehby just another Obama hater or is her objective to repeal the Affordable Care Act? She’s said what she isn’t, but what would she be about in D.C.?
Mapes disclosed that Mehby has said, “Everybody tells me I need to go to Washington, D.C. to do a little brain surgery.” Since, apparently, as reported, she’s not certain she’s against abortions, immigration reform and gay marriage, what’s realistically more likely to happen, if she succeeds in her quest, and comes under the control in D.C. of the radical Tea Party-Libertarian GOP leadership in D.C., is that she will find herself under the “scalpel.”
We’re also told by Mapes that Wehby keeps close company with the likes of a retired pediatric neurosurgeon who has compared the ACA to slavery and Nazi rule. Wheby may want to choose her friends more carefully because remarks like those made by her closest pals may fit tidily in Tennessee but don’t show well in a progressive state like Oregon. Whatever the case, it’s therefore difficult to believe, as is claimed by some persons, that Wehby is a “moderate.”
I view many who’ve been elected over the years to represent Oregon in the U.S. Senate as serving us well, and those include as many Republicans as Democrats. However, the nation is divided today over those who look after the interests of the few, those with the money and means, and those whose records indicate they are in the nation’s capital to work the greatest good for the greatest number. Personally, I prefer the two in office now because I closely follow the voting records of our members of Congress and am convinced that Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Ron Wyden are concerned for all persons in this state, not just the wealthy.
(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)