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MONTEREY, Calif. – A grassroots political action committee (PAC) comprised mainly of physicians is seeking to influence President Obama’s and state legislative reforms to the health care system. The message to health insurance industry devolves from the PAC’s name: Stop Practicing Medicine.

The committee’s founder, Dr. Bradley W. Carpentier, a Board Certified Pain Management Specialist and Anesthesiologist practicing in Salinas and Monterey, formed the committee to get insurance carriers out of the business of making medical decisions for insureds through the power of the refusal to pay for care. As stated by Dr. Carpentier in his website, "Physicians across the country are fed up with insurance company interference in patient care. That is why we are orgainizing. By refusing to pay for needed medical care, they are dening patients the freedom and right to heal."

Dr. Carpentier is particularly critical of the practice of health care insurers to refer recommendations of specialists such as himself to non-specialized physicians who then question the need or appropriateness of the treatment. While these physicians are usually not on the company’s payroll, they understand their role in trying to save the carrier’s money. To this committee, this longstanding and widely adopted practice is reprehensible.

The committee does not dispute the benefits that insurance carriers play in the health care system. It believes that the carriers could play an educational role in assisting doctors to understand the need for, and ways to accomplish, cost containment. However, where the carrier invades the "partnership" between a doctor and the patient, united by the goal of restoring or retaining the patient’s health, this is simply going too far.

We applaud the efforts of this still forming political action committee. Their voice is that of physicians and patients that have had medical decisions made or inappropriately trumped by health insurance carriers. Carriers that are putting profit over people. If you have such an experience, or would otherwise like to join their cause, provide your story to their website. The hope, apparently, is that a groundswell will begin and will eventually influence the reforms that are being made.

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