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Mad As Hell doctor slips into Obama event at the last minute

Remember the Mad As Hell Doctors’ cross-country care-a-van, which stopped in Minnesota on the way to the White House in the hopes of meeting with President Obama?
The group of Oregon doctors didn’t get an audience with Obama after drawing 250 peopl

Remember the Mad As Hell Doctors’ cross-country care-a-van, which stopped in Minnesota on the way to the White House in the hopes of meeting with President Obama?

The group of Oregon doctors didn’t get an audience with Obama after drawing 250 people to a Sept. 30 single-payer rally in Lafayette Park, across from the White House.

But once the Mad As Hell Doctors group got wind that Obama had invited about 150 other doctors to a Monday gathering in the Rose Garden, Dr. Paul Hochfeld stayed behind and took his chances at the White House gate.

At the last minute, after submitting his driver’s license and Social Security number, Hochfeld said he was allowed to enter and was seated between two “big, surly guys who were twice my size.”

Hochfeld said he didn’t get to meet the president or press his single-payer case, but he spoke with several of the doctors, who happened to be in D.C. for a Doctors for America meeting.

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“This was not a meeting,” he said of the White House event. “This was not a discussion between the president and these doctors. This was a photo op.”

Here’s a Washington Post story about the event.

After the Rose Garden gathering, Hochfeld spent the day on the phone with media and wrapped up the day with an appearance on MSNBC’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann,” where he said the group is mad about the health-insurance industry’s influence on the reform debate. Here’s the interview.

“I want to say there’s not even any part of me that wants President Obama to fail, but I just think he could do better,” Hochfeld told MinnPost today before flying home to Corvallis, Ore.

What’s next for Hochfeld and his group?

“I’m just going to keep agitating and keep pushing and keep telling the truth,” he said. “It’s pretty clear to me that the health insurance industry … is not part of the solution in this country. The difference between us and other countries (with insurance companies) is they developed this system before the insurance companies were vast political powers like they are here.”