I’m no economist, but merely a simple-minded physician in the trenches of medicine, toiling away, trying to make a living while helping my patients live a happy, productive life, despite their (sometimes near-fatal) illnesses.
Over the past two decades, there have been great debates as to why American health care is so expensive. The obvious reason given by our political leaders is “those greedy doctors!” Hence the ongoing efforts by Republican and Democratic administrations to cut Medicare and Medicaid payments for physician services, which are then quickly mimicked by private insurance companies. Suffice it to say that Medicare payment for physician services is almost the same as it was in 1999, i.e. flat for 15 years, through 8 years of Republican and 7 years of Democratic rule.
Now, I’d like to show just two images to illustrate how both for-profit and non-profit company executives are running away with “real” money while we physicians, the pillars of the health care system, get the blame.
Anyone looking at these figures can surely see where the “big bucks” in health care are going.
My question to fellow-physicians is – Why don’t we stand up and proclaim the obvious – WE ARE HEALTH CARE?
My question to the public and policy-makers is – Would you not want a majority of health care dollars being spent on actual health care? So why create policy that hurts caregivers while enhancing the pockets of middlemen, who have no direct role in health care?
Health care dollars going towards health care! Now that’s a novel idea, isn’t it?
Arvind Cavale MD is an endocrinologist in private practice, you can follow Dr. Cavale on Twitter @endodocPA.