So while I've not blogged in a while, that doesn't mean my head has been underground, no matter how much I wish it could be. ;)
This morning I received a message from my boss, which had been forwarded from her boss, asking employees to sign a petition about Medicare reform. This petition, found at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/meltdown/ asks people to sign their name to try to convince Congress to overhaul the Medicare reimbursement system. I have mixed feelings about this.
For starters, it is true that physicians have faced deep cuts in Medicare payments over the last few years. No argument there. We write off tons of money every day. However, most of the doctors I work for drive VERY expensive cars, and have several of them. They have huge houses in gated communities, send their kids to private schools, use the most expensive day care facilities, or have nannies for their children. They take vacations to exotic locations, and all in all live the good life. Anyone see anything wrong here? See, the problem is I know how much we pay for things in relation to how much we charge for things. There is a mark up, trust me. I realize they need to make money, but do they need to make quite that much? Shouldn't they be doctors to care for patients, not to make their fortune? Now granted, not all the doctors I work for have luxury cars and take exotic vacations, but the majority do. I agree there is something wrong with the Medicare system, but perhaps there's also something wrong with the physicians wanting to make as much money as possible. Just where does patient care fit into the millions they make? I hear the argument all the time that overhead is huge and therefore the Medicare cuts endanger our jobs. Okay, now I won't argue this, because I enjoy being employed, but perhaps overhead should be looked at a bit more closely?
I'm not comfortable signing a petition that's brought to my attention through my boss. However, I'm not comfortable NOT signing it either. There's something at work here that is bigger than me- a fearsome beast that is hungry. Healthcare will never truly be reformed if it is done by the Federal government. There are too many lobbyists at work for it to ever be patient friendly. Congress and the President may say that is their goal, but until lobbyists, insurance companies and big business are taken out of the equation, there will never be true reform. And since those three entities will never truly be gone because of their willingness to line the pockets of congress, reform will die a long, slow painful death. I truly hope I am wrong, but I have a bad feeling I'm right.