Apparently the concept of attacking ideas and problems (rather than people) has been kicked to the curb. Now we’re demonizing the doctors; put them down in order to … to do what? What alternatives are being recommended? “Doctors should charge less” isn’t even a complete concept. Less than what? WHICH doctors, for what procedures? What are we going to replace those “overpriced” doctors with?
It would be less than honest to say that some medical facilities aren’t looking for ways to up the bill. When you’re charged $5 for two aspirin in the hospital, that certainly seems excessive. But what about the charges that cost LESS than what you’re billed? What about the things that are included for free with the office visit or hospital stay? Let’s take a look at some of that:
Overhead is defined as the general fixed costs of running a business. Air conditioning, for example. It’s downright expensive to keep comfortable temperatures and clean air flowing through medical facilities. What about rent? A doctor’s office must be kept clean and sanitized. That’s simply not going to be possible in a warehouse, and it’s not going to clean or sanitize itself. And what about the rest of the staff? The reality is that there are entire teams behind the scenes fighting for your health and well-being.
What about to the doctors themselves? They’re expected to be absolute experts – virtually infallible. After all, they’re responsible for your health and well-being, your very life! And they’re supposed to do that on the fly, seeing a dozen patients an hour, prescribe and renew prescriptions, diagnose and treat and follow up… and now you want them to do that for less, for free… and still somehow pay the rent, the equipment leases, the air conditioning, lights, phone, insurances (plural,) association fees and all the rest, while paying back hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans. Okay, sure, no problem.
When Bill Gates makes millions of dollars a day, people aren’t up in arms, demanding that the government tell him to charge less for his operating system. In fact, it would be downright unAmerican to do something like that. He’s an entrepreneur, he deserves the profits! But let a doctor make a decent living after sacrificing well over a decade of the “best” years of his life to learn how to care for a patient, and he’s profiteering and discompassionate? Your plumber charges $150-$250 to come out in a work van and run a snake through your drain. You pay him, and are glad the sewer doesn’t backing up anymore. But if the doctor charges $50 for a visit in a clean, pleasant, air-conditioned office with its hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment, access to his staff and time with him and his 12+ years of education, so that he can provide you with a cure for what ails you, he’s ripping you off?
It’s been a long time since America saw physicians as Dr. Welby — perhaps too long. The pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, and that is just not fair. When you’re in pain, your doctor is there, working diligently to provide you with relief. Of course he or she cares! That’s the real reason why they became doctors in the first place! So how about we stop trying to make doctors into the bad guys. There’s no inherent need for a villain. Instead, let’s look for constructive solutions and alternatives, attack the problem, not the people who are in the trenches every day saving lives.