I intended to write about Dr. Jane Orient first, as her role in the battle for free markets in health care is indisputably the greatest. There are far too many accolades and accomplishments of this tireless woman to list here, part of the reason I have not written about her until now; this is a daunting task and I fear leaving something out.
Rather than produce and relay a list, I have decided to limit myself to a description of Dr. Orient, providing insight into her character as I see it, hoping that you will in some small way know this medical warrior, as I am honored to know her. I will provide a few examples so you will have some idea what she has done for patient and doctor freedom.
Dr. Orient is the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) and as such, has assumed the role of the “anti-American Medical Association (AMA),” to which neither she, nor I, nor 99% of the AAPS members belong. After you meet Dr. Orient at an AAPS meeting you can simply no longer bear to belong to the AMA. Many physicians having met Jane have quit the AMA largely because they knew continued membership would be insulting to her.
Dr. Orient has no fear. None. She single-handedly defeated the Clinton Health Care plan, taking on Hillary and Ira Magaziner and the whole host of statists in the 90’s, crushing them. The AMA, true to form, had by now endorsed every federal intrusion into health care, including Clintoncare, and Jane took them on, too, exposing (along with Dr. Melissa Clements of Oklahoma City) the code book monopoly (ICD-9) bestowed upon the AMA as the bribe to support all future health care grabs by the feds, including Obamacare. The AMA, now completely compromised, derives the vast majority of its revenue from the federal government. I personally do not know a physician who belongs to this organization. Dr. Orient is primarily responsible for the mass exodus of physicians from the AMA and is to be congratulated for this gift to us all.
Dr. Orient doesn’t get tired like the rest of us. You might think that Obamacare emerging from the ash heap of Clintoncare would make her throw up her hands and walk away. She, like Mises, having once identified evil, proceeded ever more boldly against it, to paraphrase Virgil. I am honored to have walked the halls of the marble buildings in “the swamp”(as she likes to refer to Washington, D.C.) with Jane and marveled at the fighting spirit in her.
Dr. Orient is smart….not just regular smart, crazy smart. She remembers the things people have said and done, long after everyone else has forgotten. Uncanny.
Dr. Orient is passionate and intense, too much so for some. Her steel gaze looks straight through you even if she likes you. You had better be on top of your game when you are in a conversation with Jane! You can’t help but find yourself even more passionate about your own mission when visiting with Jane about it. Her energy is infectious as anyone who has been around her can attest.
Dr. Orient is bold. Part of this comes from her lack of fear, part from her uncompromising principles and part from her constantly asking, “why not?” Any physician who has opted out of Medicare or who sleeps better at night knowing that this is an option at some point, owes their escape to Dr. Orient. She took on Medicare and all of Washington, D.C. and pulled this off. She accepts no federal funds and is the primary reason that I do not, this principle, perhaps the greatest gift she has given me.
Dr. Orient is generous and kind. Dr. Orient has tirelessly promoted physicians and their practices that subscribed to market principles and an uncompromising patient-doctor relationship. As such, she has been a giant promoter of The Surgery Center of Oklahoma and me personally. It is not possible for me to express in this space what her sanction and endorsement has meant to me and to the success of our facility.
Dr. Orient is humble. She will likely chide me for writing this. My fear is that as I expressed in the beginning of this blog, I have left something important out. However glowing I have been about Jane, I reserve the right to write another post about her if, indeed I have left something out!
I am honored to know Dr. Jane Orient and call her a friend. Anyone who has been a patient or a doctor has benefitted from this modern day hero of medicine. Cheers, Jane.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.