Here is a response to an article written in the Springfield News-Leader. To view the article, click here.
The hypocrisy involved in the Missouri State Medical Association's (and partner physician groups) lawsuit against the people of Missouri is truly mind boggling.
Between its initial introduction and the final passage HB818 nearly doubled in size and while all elements pertained to health care and/or making health care more financially accessible - the midwifery provision was far from the only part of the bill that didn't deal with insurance directly.
Let's look at an example from the final summary:
DELINQUENT MEDICAL BILLS
Currently, state agencies are allowed to submit an agency debt to
the Department of Revenue in order to set off the debt by the
person's tax refund. The bill establishes a process for
hospitals and other health care providers to intercept a person's
tax refund or lottery winnings.
Hmmmm.... I don't see anything in the above about Relating to Health Insurance. But wait - that provision will allow the members of the MSMA and the other groups involved in the suite to garnish the funds of Missouri citizens without having to go through the standard judicial oversight required of all of other business. Guess since it isn't a "danger" to patients (or would that be MSMA pocket book?) we don't have to worry about its constitutionality?
As the new law is written it allows *only* Certified Professional Midwives to care for paranatal women as independent practitioners. Practitioners who are CPM certified have undergone a rigorous training process followed by both a clinical and written exam. They are the only birth professionals specifically trained to attend birthing women in an out-of-hospital setting - something virtually no doctor has experience in doing.
Additionally, nothing about the new law prevents the state of Missouri from establishing a licensing board similar to the boards that govern all other allopathic and complimentary care providers in this state. In fact, that was exactly what the midwifery supporters had been attempting to do (and had majority support to do in both Chambers) but where unable to accomplish due to the filibuster maintained by one Senator Chuck Graham, recipient of the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians 2007 MAFP Legislative Award. You'll recognize the MAFP as co-Plaintiffs on the MSMA lawsuit.
If I was a doctor in the state of Missouri I'd be hanging my head in shame at the sophomoric stunts and juvenile tantrums of my trade union. Perhaps their colleagues in Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas or any of the other 37 states where non-Nurse midwives legally take clients can demonstrate that doctors can indeed continue to practice when women are granted the right to choose their own health care providers.
The tactics of the MSMA are outrageous and obviously flawed. While they claim to be concerned about safety issues, let's face facts: they are worried about losing money and being shown up by the high standards of Midwifery care. Doctors can not compete with the Midwifery Model of Care at this time. And they shouldn't have to. They have a specific role in childbirth which should be respected as such. Nothing more, nothing less. In the same vein, Midwives have a specific role too. Let's stop all this childish nonsense and work together for a better maternity care system. Learn from each other.
Blessings and Peace