Health reform’s political tryst: love and narcissism inside the beltway

Politics, like personal relationships, is built on a foundation of trust and honesty, and requires a firm connection to reality to be successful and sustainable. Photo: White House

SAN DIEGO, April 4, 2012 - People with ‘personality disorders’ like severe narcissism are prevented from experiencing true intimacy and are doomed to a life of dysfunctional relationships and self-imposed estrangement from others.

Their need for over-exaggerated, often delusional acts of grandness can end with a gross conflagration that threatens to burn down everything around them. They ‘go for broke’, but not out of selfless sacrifice, but rather for self-serving attention.

In American healthcare politics, trends are emerging that point to a similar scenario, but on a huge national scale.  Narcissistic behavior and grandiosity on any level can have a scarring impact.

When the President and Congressional Democrats pushed their grand plan of nationalizing medicine in America in 2009/2010, they did so by excluding the majority of private practice doctors in America.

This recent KUSI TV San Diego interview reveals the extent of the problem, and what American physician leaders intend to do about it.

It is easy to become enthralled with the President’s universal health vision. Who doesn’t like the idea of giving more services to more people at less cost? That’s a hard offer to reject.

But remember, this pitch was also a hard ‘sell’ by the White House because skeptics on both sides of the political aisle, including the neutral Congressional Budget Office, took issue with many of the overbearing and overly complex machinations within the new law’s 2,700 pages. 

The playbook on Obamacare reads like a page from a medical student textbook on narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Physicians and patients are treated as either all good or all bad (in psychiatric terms, this is called ‘splitting’); covered procedures are either on or off the list; heavy-handed, off-putting, wasteful bureaucratic oversight pits an all-knowing master (i.e., Medicare, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, local Accountable Care Organizations) against a mass of subjected underlings (all of us as patients).

A little known fact about charity in the United States is that conservatives of all socioeconomic strata give more in donations and services to charity than their liberal counterparts. This inconvenient truth may fly in the face of liberal commentators, but is easily demonstrated in many areas of society and reveals yet another failing of the ‘Affordable Care Act’.  If attention had been paid to further incentivize the free care already being given by doctors to the uninsured, instead of devising ways to punish and intrude into the doctor-patient relationship, more constructive, long-term solutions for expanding healthcare services could have been reached.

The ‘Affordable Care Act’s absence of tort reform, its lack of insurance competition across state lines, and its reliance on mandates and rationing instead of further inducements to charity, creativity and competition, make it a sicker alternative to an economically challenged, ailing status quo.

People with personality disorders are often extremely charming, attractive and even charismatic. Their egos thrive on the adulation of others, but become mortally wounded by dissent, criticism and any suspicion (however unfounded) of betrayal.  Instead of seeking the strategies and solutions of America’s doctors and nurses themselves, the President used paid/biased surrogates, like the AMA and the AARP—to falsely portray the perception of constituency support—in selling his message.  This type of behavior, coupled with the Pelosi-Reid backroom deals that passed the law, bred mistrust and antagonism from the majority of citizens in and outside of the medical field.

It may be easy to become infatuated with a narcissist’s persona and gifts, but be wary of falling in love. Their perceived generosity is often a mere projection of their own insatiable need for praise, worship and control. Underlying their grandiosity is a weak self-image and a weak plan. 

Doctor Adam Dorin is board-certified physician and founder/CEO of America’s Medical Society, a non-profit, fully tax-exempt 501c3 corporation dedicated to education and healthcare policy analysis. Along with a coalition of many other national medical organizations, he is hosting the National Doctors’ Coalition Meeting on Healthcare Reform in San Diego on May 5th/6th. Registration for this momentous event is open to healthcare professionals and the public alike.


Adam F. Dorin, M.D., MBA

Medicine and Politics in America


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Adam Frederic Dorin, M.D., MBA

Doctor Dorin is a Hopkins-trained, board-certified anesthesiologist, practicing in a large group in San Diego. He is a small business owner, a Commander in the US Navy Reserves, and the Founder/President of America's Medical Society, Inc., (AMS) a non-profit corporation created to serve and educate physicians and the general public in matters of national health-care reform and medical politics

Contact Adam Frederic Dorin, M.D., MBA


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