Dear Dr. Harris,
As the newly elected representative from Maryland and the first anesthesiologist to serve in Congress, we in the anesthesiology community are rightfully proud of your already historic political career. If anything, you prove to the naysayers (surgeons) that anesthesiologists have more intelligence and drive than just passing gas and reading the stock charts on TheStreet.com.
However you've already had an inauspicious start to your budding political aspirations. Your actions at the Congressional freshmen orientation have caused doctors around the country, and particularly the anesthesiologists who supported your campaign financially, to cringe with embarrassment. According to Politico, you complained at the meeting that it was outrageous that healthcare benefits for new members of Congress don't kick in until a month after swearing in. This smacks of extreme arrogance and cluelessness in how many Americans receive their health benefits, if they have any at all. Do you not have any health insurance from your previous job that can carry you over until February? Could you not buy COBRA insurance to cover you for the one to two months you are between jobs on your way to taxpayer funded health insurance nirvana? This is the same single payer system that many people in this country feel we should all be allowed to access in the first place instead of the insurance industry monstrosity that currently exists.
How are you going to explain to your constituents your opposition to Obamacare with its mandate that insurance companies have to insure people whenever they ask for it regardless of preexisting medical conditions when you yourself seek the same benefits? Do you realize you just personified to the general public their suspicions that doctors and politicians are not "regular people" but live in a different caste system, far removed from their daily troubles and concerns? How do you explain to all the anesthesiologists who supported you financially to the tune of $250,000 this shameful lack of public relations savvy for somebody who won a national political office?
Don't get me wrong Dr. Andy Harris. We anesthesiologists still hold extremely high hopes for your political endeavors. We know you will do the right thing by helping anesthesiologists correct Medicare's subpar payments to anesthesiologists and achieving the holy grail of doctors in this country, the abolition of the Sustainable Growth Rate formula that is in fact a Unsustainable Diminishing Rate to physicians. We are going to follow your career more closely than other Congressman because, well, you are one of us. Besides the people of your district, you also represent what all of us wish we could do, make a difference to society and create a better nation as a result. Now that you've learned your lessons in the perils of national political office, go out there and make us proud.