Skip to main content

View Diary: Why healthcare costs so much in the U.S. (181 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Would you let an amateur treat your grandmother? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRDZ, boophus, tardis10, Odysseus, russellhk

    Let's cut out the emotional aspects of the discussion. I am a semi-retired family practice doctor who never made any money at medicine. Providers don't decide what to charge. Medicare (federal government) does. Medicare pays a percent of the presumed costs as of 3 years ago, nowhere near current costs, much less extra for overhead or salaries or profit. If I charge non-Medicare patients more to make up the difference I get fined (guilty until proven innocent). If I charge Medicare patients more I get fined more (guilty until proven innocent). I signed an agreement to accept whatever Medicare pays as total payment. Food stamps pay full value, rent subsidies pay full value, and only in medicine do we have to take part value for our services.

    Belileve me, there is no such thing as "$600 for 2 minutes' work." If I evaluate you for sedation, prepare the medicine, administer it, and monitor you (even by supervision of a trained paraprofessional) until you recover, that takes a lot more than 2 minutes. You are paying for expertise and training. You get paid the same way; how much is typing worth without training and experience to make writing?

    I have seen people win medical malpractice suits when they deny what is said in the file about being given information about testing (and failed to follow through on it) and the jury believed them. I have seen a doctor prosecuted successfully for inappropriate contact with patients because several patients tried to cheer him up during stressful times and bought him dinner. I have seen people refuse treatment and then sue for the bad outcome. I have seen a malpractice suit where the lawyer just picked Dr. Smith out of the phone book because he didn't know which Dr. Smith his client had seen. AND I have seen suicides because a provider made a mistake and was censored, fined, lost licensure, lost job, and was abandoned by a system that dusted off its hands and ran off to find another "bad apple."

    Drug companies make obscene profits. Hospitals charge what they want and take tax write-offs on the unpaid amount (physicians can't deduct unpaid bills).

    Canada's system is not a panacea, either. A friend of mine died because she was in a small hospital without a kidney machine during the SARS scare and no one was willing to lend a machine from another hospital. Here there would have been multiple machines available in every nearby city.

    Finally, every time doctors try to get together to fight the big insurance companies that get contracts with big groups of patients and then underpay the physicians, some attorney accuses them of colluding to fix prices or establish a monopoly. And we can't fight this without more money and more time that we have. We're trying to keep people healthy.

    It's easy to scapegoat doctors. Try walking a mile in our shoe covers sometime.

    The GOP: A wholly owned subsidary of Corporate America.

    by ceratotherium on Fri May 13, 2011 at 07:53:59 PM PDT

    •  Excellently put n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  Same Ole', Same Ole' (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mamamedusa, ekyprogressive

      You know, we won't talk about the doctors covering up for each other in lawsuits if you drop the "poor little me" routine about juries finding doctors being culpable for real mistakes.   My spouse has had to manage several doctors who were just horrible physicians, people who should have had their licenses lifted long  before she needed to deal with them.  In each and every case, other doctors shielded them from the administrative censure they deserved.  Because it is rightly felt that doctors maintain their own equivalent of the "blue wall" of silence the police do, the only place justice can be sought is with juries, probably the worst place for this type of justice.  A profession can't have it both ways.  Doctors are granted the right to police their own and if the profession fails they get subjected to rough justice.  It's a crappy system, but it's one the doctors have brought down on themselves.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Sat May 14, 2011 at 12:00:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are great physicians and terrible ones. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mamamedusa, ekyprogressive

      Some are alcoholics, some are drug addicts. Some are nothing more than pill pushers who see an incredible number of patients every day and write prescriptions for pain pills. Physicians want to police themselves but don't do a great job of it. I know one who got a few warnings and made a few trips to Betty Ford before he finally lost his DEA number. There was a big splash in the papers in my city a few years ago about a physician caught molesting child patients. Medical school does not turn human beings into saints. Some don't go into the field for money, some absolutely do.

      Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

      by RJDixon74135 on Sat May 14, 2011 at 12:02:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think anyone suggested Amatures... (0+ / 0-)

      just less costly professionals. :-)

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site