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Friday, June 29, 2012

Pardon my rant

Today is Jeff's last day as a 4th year resident!  I can't believe we only have one more year of residency to go.  When we moved to New Orleans the summer of 2008, it felt like we were beginning such an impossibly long journey.  While it has been very difficult at times, it's hard to believe we're in the home stretch now!  Now if all my research could just go perfectly these next 6 months so I can finish at the same time as Jeff...

However, with yesterday's ruling by the Supreme Court that most of Obama's healthcare law would be upheld, our future has become somewhat uncertain.  So I'm using this blog today to vent some frustrations, my opinions on the matter.  I'm sorry if you don't agree, but this is my blog and the great thing about blogs is you can say whatever you want :)

Most people talk about the effect the law will have on people who can't afford healthcare now and the insurance companies, but they pay no attention to or don't understand the effects this will have on hospitals and private practices.  With family practice docs only receiving $5 for wellness visits for Medicaid patients, and surgeons receiving a small fraction in reimbursement for the cost of surgeries, many hospitals and private practices are filing for bankruptcy or closing because they literally can't afford to practice.  I can't help but worry that this new law will make things even worse.

A lot of people want to make doctors out to be the bad guy in all of this.  Doctors make too money, etc.  Did you ever stop to think that some doctors have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in malpractice insurance?  Or that they are taxed almost half of their incomes on top of that?  Or that they give up their nights, weekends, holidays, kids' birthdays to take care of you?  That they spent 10 years AFTER college taking on ridiculous debt so they can learn how to be the best doctor possible?  What would you say a fair salary would be for a doctor who saves your life?  For someone who performs a skill that is arguably the most important job in our society?  It annoys me to no end.

A fellow physician's wife posted this excerpt from the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand written in 1957 that is still shockingly appropriate today.  I know it's long, but it's worth reading:

"I quit when medicine was placed under State control some years ago," said Dr. Hendricks.  "Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation?  Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill?  That was what I could not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun.  I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward.  I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything- except the desires of the doctors.  Men considered only the 'welfare' of the patients, with no thought to those who were to provide it.  That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; he is not to choose, they said, but 'to serve.'  That a man's willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards- never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy.  I have often wondered at the smugness by which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscious, to stifle my mind- yet what is it they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands?  Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims.  Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn.  Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce.  Let them discover, in the operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man they have throttled.  It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it- and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn't."

So to sum up, no I'm not arguing against the case for some sort of affordable healthcare.  It bothers me that hardworking (key word:  hardworking) people can't afford the ridiculous premiums insurance companies charge, or that they can't get coverage at all for pre-existing conditions.

But that the government should have any hand in the personal relationship between a patient and a doctor is crazy.  That you and I should have to pay to cover people who are a leach on society is ridiculous.  And no, it is not your American RIGHT to have free healthcare.  I think you should have a right to go to the ER and receive free care if it's life threatening.  But you do NOT have a right to things like free birth control.  Services doctors provide are just that, services.  That you have to pay for.  Most doctors don't work for the government, and are out to make a living just like everyone else.  And most doctors even offer a certain percentage of pro bono work every year and are happy to do so.  But for the government to tell doctors that their services aren't worth not only what they charge, but less than half that, is absurd.

::Rant over::

Now that I've offended half the people who've read this, I'll end with some humor:

Borrowed from http://imgur.com/ZkHCP

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