I witnessed Dr. Tom Coburn at a town hall meeting not long ago.  One of his “questioners” was a recently retired air force officer who displayed a sense of entitlement that I haven’t seen since I was a resident working in the obstetrics unit at an indigent hospital.  Dr. Coburn was straightforward with him.  Then he was firm.  Then he made an example of him.  This was all very interesting to watch as Dr. Coburn is very articulate and listens well, but also hears what you mean when you speak… not just what you say. 

What he heard from this man was, “someone other than me should pay for the health care needs of my whole family and myself for the rest of our lives.”  What Dr. Coburn told him was that the country is bankrupt and the military like everyone else is going to have to give up some of their goodies or our country and children and grandchildren are doomed.  This guy didn’t care.  First he disputed Dr. Coburn’s facts.  This was amusing as the cuts that were being disputed were devised by….Dr. Coburn…the retired soldier (looked like he was about 40 years old) was out of his league.   Second, he played the patriotism card.  Big mistake.  Coburn took him apart.

Here is what I found most interesting, though.  This man was expressing an extreme feeling of entitlement.  What was it he didn’t want to give up?  He pays $250/year for his family’s care.  That’s it.  Dr. Coburn’s plan would have him pay $750/year.  Do you know what that buys for him?  A government policy that pays so poorly that no one in the private practice of medicine will see him.  Worse than Medicare.  Seriously.  That’s what this guy was so adamant about.  That’s like fighting someone to the death over a 1972 Ford Pinto. 

Ignorant.  Entitled.  Arrogant.  Military retirees are writing letters to the editor of our local newspaper consistent with this idiot’s thinking. 

Dr. Coburn has his work cut out for him.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.