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March 23, 2010

Your Turn: The Doctor/(Government)/Patient Relationship

Healthcare signing.jpg

Concerning the right wing, I’m sure a photo like this is like waving a red cape in front of an angry bull the way it dares place Obama and the government between the doctor and the patient. The other way to look at it, though, is that it’s not enough to just get on the desktop. The government needs to get all the way in to force the for-profit health insurance companies out the door.

I was interested in your take on this photo (and this variation) given all the compromises that formed the health care deal — and all the ways it relates to this scene. (Caption below.)

(photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images. caption: Jackson Health System Primary Care Doctor Merja Clegg (R) speaks with her patient Lamar Jeffers as U.S. President Barack Obama, seen on a live streaming video, signs the healthcare insurance reform legislation on March 23, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Jeffers seeing Dr. Clegg , at the Jefferson Reaves Sr. Health Center, for a medical issue said that he felt the passing of the health reform issue was important for people like him that have little money but need medical help. The landmark bill was passed by the House of Representatives Sunday after a 14-month-long political battle that left the legislation without a single Republican vote.)

  • Name Withheld

    Given the physical contact between the doctor and patient, it doesn’t look like Obama is getting between them as much as it looks like he’s facilitating (sanctifying?) the doctor-patient relationship.

  • Megan

    You think the red flag here is an abstraction about governance? My fear is that this picture will still resonate with the worst elements of (southern) American history, the fear of black men and white women interacting.

  • Scarabus

    That was my first thought, Megan. But not just interacting. She has her hand on his leg above the knee.

  • CF2K

    -Overriding image: the healing touch, that cancels out Reagan’s scornful “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”
    -De-activates the “white woman/black man” racial paranoia, with Dr. Clegg sitting higher up as an authority figure, and Mr. Jeffers respectfully folding his hands and being tended to.

  • shoeflyin

    Given that it looks like the leg she is touching is injured (see how the shoe is half off, it looks like a cast or a bandage on the lower leg) this looks more like a healing hand than anything else. In my experience, medical staff is more likely to actually touch people to console or calm than in other professional relationships.

  • Megan

    People who aren’t demon-ridden with racism can see a professional and friendly interaction. But I worry that racists are primed to see the worst in this picture.
    I just noticed her (adorable) tall red heels (that I covet). Work shoes? Really?

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