Dr. Arie Friedman hosts U.S. Representative Tom Price, M.D., in Highland Park, IL

June 22, 2011

Physicians, Conservatives and Pro-Israel activists gathered this past Thursday evening at the Highland Park home of Dr. and Mrs. Arie Friedman to meet Congressman Tom Price (R-GA). The more than sixty guests in attendance began the evening waiting for the doctor from the Peach state whose flight from Washington D.C. was delayed over two hours due to computer malfunctions with United Airlines.

The delay provided time for me to speak with Paul Miller, President of the political and media consulting firm Pauliegroup LLC.  Miller, who served as Friedman’s campaign manager during his 2010 bid for congress from the 10th District, organized the evening’s event. He spoke of a new political action committee recently formed by Dr. Friedman:  Doctors-Patients Alliance of Illinois (www.docsandpatients.org).  Its purpose is to “give doctors and patients a voice in Springfield by developing a grassroots network of doctors and patients to help educate lawmakers, candidates and voters of the impact of government-controlled medicine.” 

About Congressman Tom Price, for nearly twenty years, Rep. Price worked in private practice as an orthopedic surgeon.  Dr. Price was first elected to represent Georgia’s 6th district in November 2004.  Prior to going to Washington, Price served four terms in the Georgia State Senate–two as Minority Whip.

In Congress, Rep. Price has proven to be a vibrant leader, tireless problem solver and the go-to Republican on quality health care policy.  In the 112th Congress, Price was elected by his colleagues to serve as the fifth ranking Republican in the House as the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. 

In the preceding Congress, he served as Chairman of the Republican Study Committee.  Committed to advancing positive solutions under principled leadership, Price has been a fierce opponent of government waste and devoted to limited government and lower spending.

The time spent waiting for Dr. Price to arrive from Washington, D.C. passed by very quickly. Great conversation with like-minded individuals combined with good food and drink made for a pleasant evening.  To the delight of all assembled Dr. Price arrived at the home of the Friedman’s around 8:30 p.m. 

Without delay, we all quickly gathered in the Friedman’s large kitchen-recreation area to listen to Congressman Tom Price.

Without hesitation, Dr. Price began to speak about not knowing when this nation was as challenged as it is today, remarking also about the divided nature of this country where there is not a real majority to move things in the right direction.

Emphasized was that there is no reason for this nation to play catch-up with any nation except for its lack of leadership.  “Free market principles are the key to this nation’s economic success.”

Needed most, according to Dr. Price, are positive upbeat solutions that embrace fundamental principles, such as:  1) Don’t spend more than is taken in.  2) Get government out of the way in health care.  3) Allow productive use of this nation’s energy resources.

Price spoke of the looming debt ceiling, calling debt a long term issue rather than a short term problem.  Caps can always be put on the amount of spending that can occur, but fundamental is that Washington must change the way it does business.  If this is not done, future generations will be unable to recognize the American Dream. 

Dr. Price kept his remarks short, giving guests ample time to ask address questions. 

On the Balanced Budget:  Congressman Price is a balanced budget person.  He feels that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner didn’t do any good in moving the date from May 16 to Aug. 2, and that it’s  a matter of who will blink first, President Obama or Majority House Leader John Boehner.  As an orthopedic surgeon, Price joked about the need to provide Leader Boehner with a stiff spine.

Given that this nation must borrow 42 to 43 cents of very dollar spent, Price spoke of the need to pay the interest owed or this nation would default.  He then went on to suggest that Obama will say that we don’t have the money to pay the troops or to issue Social Security checks, admitting that these are the biggest pressure points for Republicans.  Representative Price suggestions were to shut down the Departments of Energy and Commerce. 

Congressman Price cautioned guests not to lose faith in the “greatest country in the world”, and to refrain from aligning ourselves with the naysayers and critics as such talk is self defeating.

On Funding NASA:  Dr. Price is all for the spin off technology that makes life easier for everyone, but that funding is an Executive branch decision and additional funding would need a new president.

On Restricting Health Insurance: Price advocated for being able to opt out of employee offered health insurance, for the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and for large pools set up to buy insurance.

On Raising the Debt Ceiling:  Price, as a pragmatist, feels that it would be politically impossible not to raise the debt ceiling, even if the interest could still be paid on the present debt (The nation’s revenue is $200 billion per month.  Present interest per month on debt owed is $20 billion.). Why?  Because 10,000 Americans are reaching retirement age every day, the obligations of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security would pierce the present debt ceiling

Price likewise noted with concern that if drastic spending cuts proposed by Republicans were agreed to by Democrats to gain support to raise the debt ceiling another $2 trillion (We are $14 trillion in debt.), spending would continue unabated and the spending cuts would be rescinded.

OnTalking to the AMA Meeting in Chicago:   Price admitted that practicing physician membership is only around 15%.  He feels, however, that there are a few members who are not hooked on ObamaCare and that the other doctors must hear why government should not be involved in health care.  Dr. Price emphasized that despite the low membership of physicians in the AMA, the AMA is still the “Voice of Medicine” in Washington, D.C.

On Repealing ObamaCare:  Price admitted that repealing ObamaCare would be difficult, even though the House has already done so.  The Senate is not about to follow suit.  Dr. Price is focusing on what happens in South Carolina, Virginia, and Florida, whether or not the appellate court process is exhausted before the end of the year, so the legality of ObamaCare can proceed and be decided by the Supreme Court.   If this process is unsuccessful, only a new president and a majority status in the Senate could right the wrong.

In closing Representative Tom Price encouraged the assembled not to give up, as now is the time to fight for freedom.  

Check www.policy.house.gov for more information about Congressman Tom Price

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