Paul Gordon, MD, MPH recently started his two-month bicycle tour from the Washington, DC to Seattle, stopping along the way to learn what people think of the Affordable Care Act. On his journey, called the Bike Listening Tour, Dr Gordon will visit small towns across the nation and record interviews with locals about their thoughts on the Affordable Care Act.
Watch the video below to hear from Dr Gordon about his trip.
To learn more about the Bike Listening Tour and to follow Dr Gordon during his trip, read his blog at https://bikelisteningtour.wordpress.com.
While my medical school classmates were deep in their sub-I’s, I took a year off and spent my days being chased off parking lots by grocery store managers. I often wondered what I was doing and how did I manage to drift so far from medicine.
I found myself in this unenviable position by trying to change the health care landscape. Health care in America is fragmented, expensive, and often ineffective. This has been self-evident for 20 years, yet the problem is getting worse. We have a health care system shaped largely by government policies and government dollars, and, conversely, we have a federal budget that is shaped largely by health care spending. Since I wanted to be an agent of health care reform, I thought the obvious way to do that was to run for a seat in the House of Representatives.
Sure, it is unconventional to run for federal office as a first-time candidate, to have no money or donors, and to have lived in the district for less than 3 years, but these are, in medical lingo, soft contraindications. The mechanics of running for public office is pretty much the same no matter which office—you spend your days begging for votes or for money, which in turn helps you beg for votes. You get the distinct feeling of being a panhandler, replete with being chased off from grocery stores. The only difference is that as a candidate, you are better dressed. People innately realize this because while many are politically opinionated, few ever imagine slumping to the level of a political candidate.
We all have those areas of life where we just feel incredibly out of place and like we are standing like deer in the headlights. For me, this is going to the mechanic. I’m always nervous to bring my car in; what if there is something wrong with my car and I can’t afford it, what if the mechanic tries to pull a fast one on me, what if, what if, what if? I recently had to go to my mechanic, and he proceeded to list all the things wrong with my car. As I stood there nodding my understanding I was really thinking that I had no idea what he was talking about. He was using words I didn’t know, explaining about parts of the car I had never heard of, and the list of my ignorance goes on. Obviously I know nothing about vehicles, but I don’t want him to know that! When he finished and asked if I had any questions I responded confidently, “Nope, you did a great job of explaining that, thank you,” when really I had no idea what to ask because since I only understood maybe 10% of what I was told, forming any question was difficult.