Two-thirds of morbidity or mortality among Medicare patients is from cancer or heart disease. Yet ObamaCare will cut payments to cardiologists by 11% overall and radiation oncologists by 19%. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471504574443472658898710.html In President Obama's Washington, medical specialists are slightly more popular than the H1N1 virus. Compared to bread-and-butter primary care doctors, specialists cost more to train and make more use of expensive procedures and technology—and therefore cost the government more money. Even so, the quiet war Democrats are waging on specialists is astonishing. From Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus's health-care bill to changes the Administration is pushing in Medicare, Democrats are systematically attacking specific medical fields like cardiology and oncology. With almost no scrutiny, they're trying to engineer a "cheaper" system so that government can afford to buy health care for all—even if the price is fewer and less innovative ways of extending and improving lives. Take a provision in the Baucus bill that would punish any physician whose "resource use" is considered too high. Beginning in 2015, Medicare would rank doctors against their peers based on how much they cost the program—and then automatically cut all payments by 5% to anyone who falls into the 90th percentile or above. In practice, this rule will only apply to specialists. Since there will always be a missing chair when the music stops, every year one of 10 physicians will be punished if he orders too many tests, performs too many procedures or prescribes too many drugs—whether or not the treatments result in better patient outcomes. The 5% fine is substantial given that Medicare's price controls already pay only 83 cents on the private dollar. In Medicare, meanwhile, the Administration is using regulation to change how doctors are paid to benefit general practitioners, internists and family physicians. In next year's fee schedule, they'll see higher payments on the order of 6% to 8%. The loose consensus is that the U.S. does have too few primary care doctors—less than 5% of medical students are entering the field—in part because they're underpaid. Fair enough. But this boost for GPs comes at the expense of certain specialties. The 2010 rules, which will be finalized next month, visit an 11% overall cut on cardiology and 19% on radiation oncology. They're targets only because of cost: Two-thirds of morbidity or mortality among Medicare patients owes to cancer or heart disease.