A retired surgeon speaks out on healthcare reform

Retired surgeon John Gary Maxwell, a professor emeritus at both the University of North Carolina and the University of Utah medical schools, recently penned an editorial on healthcare reform entitled Health Reform from My Side of the Surgery Table. I found it insightful, and thought I’d pass along the link… And, here, for those of you who aren’t going to follow the link and read the whole thing, it one of Maxwell’s more outrageous/brilliant ideas:

…Doctors’ pay is equally disparate. Despite similar length of training, extreme variations in amounts paid different doctors exist nation-wide. Six- and seven-figure incomes are common among several specialties, while general surgeons, pediatricians, internists, family practitioners and geriatricians whose education was as arduous – and who may put in more hours – earn far less.

Should limitless profit be the motivation to choose medicine as a career? Inequities in earnings have their origin, in large part, because doctors’ pay is based on fee for service.

The more tests performed, the more X-rays ordered, every consultant called, every operation done influences income – directly or indirectly.

The solution to these disparities is one that will not sit well with some of my colleagues: Doctors should be paid a base salary commensurate with their time in education and the responsibilities they carry. Increases in pay should be based on such factors as measurements of quality of care, research and teaching. Highly specialized fields requiring extra education and experience, remaining current in new techniques and extra call on nights, weekends and holidays should be compensated…

And, speaking of healthcare reform, when in the hell is the White House going to get serious and start playing hardball with the Democratic Senators promising to vote against the impending legislation? Why doesn’t Obama just say, “The American people want a robust public option, and these are the three Democrats who have indicated that they don’t want to see that happen”? And, if it means withholding Federal stimulus dollars from their states, so be it. I’m tired of all the pussyfooting around. And I think it’s about time that we see Obama take a real stand on something.

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One Comment

  1. Kim
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    What a coincidence. I was just reading an article about liberal patheticness.

    http://www.alternet.org/story/144419/are_liberals_pathetic

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