There is a certain kind of blog poster that has been angering me. It’s the nuts on KevinMD that make the claim over and over that somehow I, and all doctors like me, are responsible for creating this system where insurance companies bilk doctors and patients, and that, after years of “doctor abuse” and “doctor fraud”, I am just now getting what I deserve.
What a complete load of garbage.
Just to clue all of these brilliant thinkers in, I completed residency training FIVE YEARS AGO!!! So the idea that somehow I am responsible for the current system is total crap. Does anyone think doctors made any substantial monetary gains in the last FIVE years? Or even the last FIFTEEN???
When I entered medical school, I had ideas about being a respected professional who could offer opinions and diagnoses to ease suffering, cure disease, and as my father told me “You won’t get rich, but you’ll never go hungry”. Well, truer words were never spoken my friends. I am not rich, and for the most part, I haven’t missed a meal (except on call of course). But I did manage to amass over ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS IN DEBT!!!
So when I was slogging through Gross Anatomy and Physiology, according to the “just desserts” crowd, I should have KNOWN that HMO’s and insurances were perpetrating dwindling reimbursement on doctors and that Medicare was dropping their payments. I should have KNOWN that doctors in the 70’s and 80’s were doing unscrupulous things like putting pacemakers in dead people and charging for them (a fact told to me by an esteemed medical director who saw these things happen and did nothing to prevent it). I should have KNOWN to study these things just as hard as the Biochemistry and Microbiology and Pathology I thought I would need to be a good doctor.
After four years of school and three years of mind-numbing residency, I was, of course, desperate to find a job that would help me pay down this debt I had acquired. So I took the first job offered that paid well (I felt). According to the “just desserts” crowd I should have rejected all insurances, Medicare, etc, and just took cash only or raised my fees.
Well then, I just have one question… WHERE THE HELL AM I GOING TO FIND PATIENTS???
The people who make these statements are just clueless. And they blame doctors like myself for the way the system is. Just as you would blame me for slavery during the Civil War or I would blame Germans today for the Holocaust. It’s such a tired argument and serves no purpose, except to make the “just desserts” crowd feel better about blaming doctors for high health costs. They forgot that doctors become competent only through studying and hard work. The best doctors aren’t the most business savvy ones. They should ask themselves which doctor they want to see: the one who’s practice is booming because they’re making money hand-over-fist, or the one who paid attention in Path.