Doctor Knows Best, Unless It’s Bad for Business

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” This timeless adage seems to be the mantra for today’s legislators who are financially backed by large pharmaceutical corporations. How unfortunate for the citizens living in these legislators’ districts.

A recent editorial published in the AAP’s journal Pediatrics written by Senator Richard Pan (California) and a UC Hastings law professor made the claim that “many students received inappropriate MEs (medical exemptions)” after the passage of SB277 which removed parents’ right to philosophical & religious vaccine exemptions for school attendance in California. One has to wonder, without ever having personally treated any of the children that received a medical exemption, how can this legislator and law professor make such a diagnosis to ascertain their medical conditions do not warrant an exemption?

For many years, the go-to retort from some pro-mandate legislators against parents requesting vaccine freedom of choice were things like “listen to doctors, not celebrities” or “I’ll trust a doctor’s degree over a mother’s google degree” or simply “I’m pro-science.” Now that philosophical exemptions have been taken away for California public school students, more parents are turning to doctors for medical exemptions so that their children may continue to have access to a public education, and suddenly doctors are no longer the revered experts they once were.

Legislators were so confident in the stringency of medical exemptions that they assured California parents time and time again that medical exemptions would remain untouched by the legislature – even taking steps to “expand” access to these exemptions. Watch below as Senators Pan and Allen speak to the importance of maintaining a “strong and robust medical exemption” and agree that “a medical professional has complete discretion over the writing of a medical exemption”. In the second video below Senator Pan even states that “there is no specific list of things they (doctors) can or cannot exempt for”:

Left with no other option, many California parents took Senator Pan at his word and sought to obtain medical exemptions for their children. Also taking Senator Pan at his word that no disciplinary action would be taken against doctors who granted MEs, many were happy to oblige concerned parents and began issuing them at their discretion. As a result, the number of MEs in the state rapidly increased and along with it the cries of “FOUL!” from Senator Pan as he increasingly refers to MEs as “inappropriate”. The video below highlights Senator Pan’s progression from “Doctor knows best” to “Doctors are frauds”:

Doctors are writing more medical exemptions in recent years so legislators no longer trust them? What happened to “any licensed physician can grant a medical exemption”, or “at their professional judgement”? Instead of accepting the medical reasons why these doctors are writing exemptions, the mandate-pushers are changing the narrative.

We are seeing the true motive revealed – this is not about public health, but about protecting the profits of pharmaceutical companies. Doctors are being pitted against drug makers and lawmakers, at the detriment of the public.

If Senator Richard Pan should have his way, public health officers (government employees) would have the ability to invalidate medical exemptions at their discretion. “Public health officers should have the authority to invalidate unwarranted MEs and revoke the delegation of authority to grant MEs from physicians who abuse it.”

Moving forward with legislation like this will leave doctors’ hands tied by government entities that are not privy to each child’s medical history. What happened to individual patient care? What happened to protecting the doctor-patient relationship? What happened to personal liberty? This is a human rights violation and it MUST be stopped.

 

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