The nation's largest faith-based association of physicians strongly criticized the new 2,000-page House health care bill as an "overdose" in reform that injects massive government intervention in the system.
"With this massive legislation, we are getting much more than is actually needed to fix our health care system," stated Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the 16,000-member Christian Medical Association.
He said the House bill would "totally transform" the health care system into a government-run system that "dictates" what treatment patients would receive when a better solution is to target reform in areas that need to be fixed.
"Physicians are so upset about this takeover of health care that hundreds of thousands have threatened to leave medicine if it passes," the CMA head said, citing a recent poll that showed 45 percent of all physician respondents saying they are ready to leave medicine if health care overhaul passes.
Stevens noted that the number shoots up to 95 percent for faith-based health care professionals who say they are ready to leave medicine if their "conscience rights are weakened."
Many Christian doctors fear that the House bill could eventually lead to health care professionals being forced to participate in abortion procedures against their will due to the "radical shift" the bill takes in allowing the government to fund abortion on demand.
"The bottom line for patients under this legislation is that they are much more likely to lose their physician," Stevens said.
Last week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi unveiled the new health care reform bill that has come under heavy fire from conservative and Christian groups for allowing federal funding for elective abortion and allowing medical professionals to provide information on physician-assisted suicide when discussing end-of-life options.
The House bill has also come under criticism for its high price tag – it calls for $1.055 trillion in federal spending over the next ten years. By comparison, the Senate version of the health care reform bill calls for $829 billion in federal spending that is also significantly offset by reduction in tax subsidies and tax breaks. In the end, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the adjusted increase in federal spending for the Senate plan would only be $85 billion over the next ten years.
"The legislation is also ineffective and will increase costs rather than lower costs," Stevens criticized. "It will hurt efficiency and increase bureaucracy. It will interfere with the physician-patient relationship and lead to the delay and denial of health care based solely on cost."
He also criticized how fast the House plans to vote on the bill – the vote is expected as early as next week – when many haven't had the chance to read the massive proposal.
"[L]eaders in Congress are trying to push a bill through in a few days that will impact one-sixth of our economy," Stevens said. "It is bitter medicine that most people don't want, and taking it fast will not change that."
Democratic leaders told reporters Tuesday that lawmakers will open debate on the legislation on Friday or Saturday, with key votes to possibly follow on Monday or Tuesday. Lawmakers aim for a final vote before the Nov. 11 Veterans Day holiday, according to Agence France-Presse.