Emergency room physicians are backing Barack Obama, according to the results of the truly sweet, but unscientific Presidential Jelly Bean Poll. When asked to pick a red or blue jelly bean out of a bowl and “vote” for the candidate of their choice, 810 attendees at the annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians voted for the Obama/Biden ticket versus 650 for McCain/Palin.
One can only speculate that emergency physicians are banking on Barack Obama’s health care proposal to provide health coverage for more Americans, thereby relieving some of the stress on medicine’s front lines. Research shows that between 1994 and 2004, total ED visits have increased an estimated 18%-26%, while the number of EDs decreased by 9%-12%.
ACEP officials opted not to interpret the results of the Jelly Bean Poll, saying only that their membership is bipartisan. It was noted however, that the Chicago-based meeting was taking place in Sen. Obama’s home state.
Indeed, Chicago was in a tizzy during the meeting, with Mayor Daley going so far as to issue an open invitation to an election-night celebration for Barack Obama in Grant Park. The only problem is that the picturesque park located along the city’s lake shore can hold only about 65,000 people, prompting an on-line bidding war for official tickets to the $2 million bash and no doubt, angst among members of the Thin Blue Line and other first responders.
Emergency physicians seemed equally caught up in the election fever, with many stopping in the exhibition hall to have their pictures taken next to life-size cut-outs of Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain against a backdrop of the White House.
ACEP itself was celebrating its 40th anniversary during the meeting, having been born Aug. 16, 1968, in Lansing, Mich., when a group of eight physicians officially founded the organization. ACEP now has more than 26,000 members.
As part of this milestone, ACEP is expected to release its “National Report Card on the State of Emergency Medicine,” a comprehensive analysis of the support that states provide for emergency patients. The state-by-state report will also include an overall grade for the nation and will be released in early December.
Hopefully, by then we’ll actually know who our next president will be.