David Scheiner is a family doctor based in Chicago.
For 22 years — until 2007 — he was Barack Obama’s doctor.
On Wednesday June 24, ABC News held an hour long health care forum at the White House featuring an interview with President Obama — with questions from a live audience.
ABC News producers thought it would be great to surprise Obama by flying in his former doctor from Chicago.
Dr. David Scheiner could ask his former patient a question or two.
ABC News producer Annie Allen set everything up with Dr. Scheiner.
Dr. Scheiner was excited.
He canceled about 40 patient visits — two days worth.
It cost his practice about $5,000.
On the Sunday before the event, Dr. Scheiner talked with Annie Allen and everything was a go.
“They said I was going to be there at the White House and everything was fine,” Scheiner told Single Payer Action. “We talked for about an hour on Sunday. I was going to ask a question directly of the President. They thought it was great. I was his doctor for 23 years. And I was going to surprise him. Sunday night I got an e-mail from Annie Allen saying everything was okay.”
Only one problem.
Scheiner, it turns out, has been critical of Obama’s health care plan.
It won’t work, he says.
Scheiner says we need single payer health care instead.
On Monday — two days before the White House event — another producer from ABC News called — Scheiner can’t remember his name — and told Scheiner and told him he had been canceled.
“We have too many people, we have to cancel you,” the producer told Scheiner. “Maybe some day you will be on Nightline.”
“I was pissed,” Scheiner said. “The program was terrible. It was an informerical for the medical industrial complex. It wasn’t meaningful. The questions were softballs. There wasn’t one mention of single payer — as far as I could tell.”
Scheiner doesn’t know whether he got nixed by ABC News or someone in the White House.
“I don’t know who did it,” Scheiner said. “It could have been the White House. I could see [White House Chief of Staff] Rahm Emanuel doing something like that. That’s his style.”
Now Scheiner says that Congress should nix Obama’s health care proposal and start all over.
And pass single payer next time around.
RUSSELL MOKHIBER is editor of Corporate Crime Reporter and founder of singlepayeraction.org