Hundreds of metro Atlanta doctors offered a thumbs-down diagnosis of the Democrat-led health care overhaul during a rally Saturday at the state Capitol.
The doctors, many who donned their white lab coats, said the legislation would create a huge government bureaucracy over health care that would come between them and their patients. They believe that would drive up health costs, reduce access to care and control the services they provide to people.
"The government will get between my patients and I, making decisions on who I see and what I do," said Dr. Hal Scherz, an Atlanta pediatric urologist and president of Docs 4 Patient Care, the advocacy group that sponsored the rally. "That's not good."
Several doctors and other health professionals said they were concerned about the legislative vote Saturday that would bring a bill shaped by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to a full discussion in the U.S. Senate.
But they made clear that the fight extends beyond one day's vote.
"No matter what happens today, this fight is not over," Dr. Fred Shessel, a urologist, told the crowd. "We are in the right."
Organizers estimated that the rally drew about 500 people, though police said the crowd was closer to 350. The Atlanta rally was among several gatherings across the country aimed at opposing the health care measures, they said.
Advocates for the health care overhaul say the measures would expand medical coverage to more people, control costs and prevent insurance companies from excluding people with pre-existing conditions.
Many at the Atlanta rally carried signs saying, "If You Think Health Care Is Expensive Now, Wait Till It's Free" and "Kill the Bill" and "Keep Government Out of Health Care."
Speakers included U.S. Reps. Tom Price (R-Roswell) and Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta), two doctors who have fought the measures in Washington.
Price told the crowd that he had a "diagnosis" for the U.S. House bill.
"It's legislative malpractice," he said.
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