OK there are a few crooks out there, but the vast majority of docs are working themselves to death. The AMA has done things like recommend they REDUCE their work week to 55-60 hours (Adams, “Doctor morale shaky as practice stressors surge,” 15 January 2007, ama-assn.org). (Save America, Save the World by by Cassandra Nathan p. 120)
When you look at how competitive med school is, how many years of study it takes, their student loans (not dischargeable even in bankruptcy, and YES, MDs can go bankrupt), the malpractice premiums, the overhead if they have their own practice, etc. it's a wonder we have doctors.
"Doctors graduate medical school with huge student loans. (The Student Doctor Network says that 2006 graduates of medical school graduate typically owing $130K or more). " (Save America p. 124)
If you figured out their actual pay PER HOUR after all the expenses you can make more in OTHER fields that are a lot less stressful and take little schooling. "Parade magazine 2007’s article noted that the median income for a family practice doctor is $161,000." (Save America, p. 124).
"Payments to physicians who provide service are routinely negotiated to cheap levels for the insurer. In fact, according to Regina Herzlinger, though the income of technicians and professional workers rose between 1995 and 2003, when adjusted for inflation, the doctors’ income dropped 7 percent (“Who Killed U.S. Medicine?,” 25 July 2007, washingtonpost.com). "
Save America, Save the World p. 120.
Believe me, I could add more--Nathan does it in her book. Oh, and I'm not a doctor, don't have doctor buddies or family, etc. I just like things to be reasonable and ripping off the people who do the lion's share of the work is WRONG.
As to what the doctor orders, SOME do practice "defensive medicine." That's not really their fault--individuals like John Edwards and his junk science claims of doctor caused CP cause that problem.
The two villains in the health care mess we have are the government (BS regs, their special "programs," and more) and the handful of large insurers who run roughshod over doctors, patients, and taxpayers. Here's PART of an article that speaks the truth and it's NOT just about United Health Care either as the doctor points out:
"While growing into a colossus, UnitedHealth has repeatedly failed to perform its basic job of paying medical bills. UnitedHealth, which covers 70 million Americans, has been sanctioned in nine states for paying claims slowly; shortchanging doctors, hospitals, or patients; or poorly handling complaints and appeals.
One Nebraska woman complained to state regulators that UnitedHealth's computers had incorrectly rejected claims related to her son's surgery six times.
At one point, UnitedHealth owed Dr. George Schroedinger, an orthopedic surgeon, $600,000. He and his clinic sued UnitedHealth of the Midwest in 2004.
Deciding for the clinic, U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh of Missouri declared that the company's claims processing systems were "flawed in many ways, denying, reducing, and improperly processing claims on a regular basis. And despite innumerable requests, United was unwilling to remedy the underlying errors in its systems" (Star-Tribune Dec. 12, 2007).
Payment troubles continued after the verdict, and Dr. Schroedinger filed a second lawsuit. "These people can never get it right, which says to me that they just plain lie," he said in an interview.
Failure to pay isn't the only complaint. The insurer also gives incorrect information on which physicians are in its network, creating enormous problems for physicians' staff.
The AMA said that no other insurer has prompted as many complaints as UnitedHealth about abusive and unfair payment practices. AMA officials have met with UnitedHealth executives 16 times since 2000, with little to show for it.
"They have always got a new plan to fix it," said Dr. William G. Plested III, past president of the AMA. But "nothing ever happens."
It seems to us that this case is just the tip of the insurance iceberg. More and more stories are appearing daily in the news media about how insurance company are instructing employees their jobs are to deny claims and/or delay payments.
With such a high percentage of medical premiums and other costs going to the legal profession, to maintain compliance with endless government rules/regulations and being hoarded by the insurance companies and executives — is it any wonder medical costs are increasing so dramatically?
It's time to take a closer look at the medical insurance companies.
UnitedHealth Group is not the first medical insurance company to rob patients, hospitals and clinics to pay obscene salaries to their executives.
It's a modern day robbing patients to pay pimps.
Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., comments on medical-legal issues and is a visiting fellow in economics and citizenship at the International Trade Education Foundation of the Washington International Trade Council.
Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a senior fellow and board member of the Discovery Institute and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
Read what I didn't paste down. All doctor-bashers should HAVE to read that entire article. Time some truth was told.