California Road Trip Days 12 & 13: Irvine and San Diego

Dr. Ellen Beck & Dr. Paul Friedman

“We” awakened Sunday morning to light rain, with the hope “they” don’t blame the Mad As Hell Oregon Docs for bringing all that moisture from the North Left Coast.

Our mid-day event at a Mishkon Tephilo Synagogue in Venice was well attended by  well informed people, hungry to learn more.  As we were packing up and schmoozing, a very bright gentleman, slightly older than myself,  pulled me aside, stating, “I need to talk to you.”   By the fatherly tone, I guessed I was in trouble.  In no uncertain terms, he expressed dismay at the music, which for him was a distraction.  He came for information.  He still didn’t understand what single payer is and how it works.   Twice, as we spoke, people came up to us, to express appreciation for the quality of the presentation, how much they learned, and their commitment to talking to their friends about it.  I guess you can’t please everybody.

In the evening, we  gathered informally at the UC Irvine Medical School with a modest crowd of medical students and affiliates. Professor Mike Huntington used a power point presentation to elucidate the various aspects of our health care financing and delivery fiasco.   In the lively Q & A, a skeptical gentleman, of my generation, challenged us with difficult questions revealing his unwavering allegiance to the magic of the marketplace. Though bordering on disruptive, he gave us a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the art of speaking with those who aren’t in the choir.  I spent an extra 30 minutes with him, mono-a-mono, afterward.   The whole while I was thinking of the Twelfth Insight, first developed by my good friend Don Johnson on the 12thhole of Trysting Tree Golf Course.  It goes something like this:  “Resist the urge to change an opposing point of view.”  I had no fantasy that I was going to change the skeptic’s conclusions, either about single payer or the human contribution to global warming.  But, in regards to the former, he now has a deeper understanding of the complexity of the issue.  In the end, we both felt heard and respected.  He doesn’t trust the  government and I don’t think we have any choice.   In any case, I trust the United States more than I trust United Health Care.

On Monday afternoon, standing in the light rain at the Price Center at UCSD (my medical school Alma Mater), we met with Dr. Paul Friedman, Dr. Ellen Beck, Dr. Sunny Smith and a handful of medical students.  We gave our informal dog and pony show.  The local doctors lucidly contributed their perspectives and then the medical students eloquently and passionately told their stories.  I was stunned by their caring wisdom.  My eyes were moist and it wasn’t the rain.   Their passion and commitment created a moving moment gives me some hope

HOT OFF THE PRESS!!!  I am have happy to announce that another physician has officially come out of the closet to proclaim that he is also a Mad As Hell Doctor.  That would be Don McCanne, who, in today’s PNHP Quote of the Day, wrote what follows about insurance company behavior:

“Right now Sandy and I have the pleasure and honor of hosting some of the Mad as Hell Doctors at our home during their current California tour in support of single payer. At dinner last night, one of them asked me if, when I’m writing the Quote of the Day, aren’t there times that I want to say… like… Bullshit!!… or something like that.  Yes! Right now. Bullshit!! Today I’m also a Mad as Hell Doctor!”

Even the rain, illegally imported from the Northland, didn’t dampen my ensuing laughter that continued for minutes.  Welcome aboard, Don.

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  1. Hey Paul, was it really mono a mono? The lesson is, don’t monkey with Paul. I miss you awesome folks. Keep up the great work. Norm (Castillo)

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