Doctors - Are they over paid?
Politics of Medicine
Recently the news has been full of stories about the rising costs of medical care in the United States. They say that maybe Doctors and others in the medical field are making more money than they deserve. Government is cutting medicaid payments to the bone and mandating that Doctors see a certain number of these patients despite the meager returns. What they fail to mention is that most patients on medicaid do not live the healthiest lifestyle, use more health care than most, make more visits to the Emergency Room than most, and often have a sense of entitlement. They also don't talk about the 11 years that a General Practitioner has to attend, pass, and pay for college or the 16-18 years a specialist or surgeon does the same. They don't share the whole story.
Every day Doctors and Nurses take human life into their hands, vomit, blood, feces and all. Do we do it for money - NO - we do it because we feel that our purpose in life is to help others. To risk being sued by those who think we didn't do enough or those who are just plain greedy scumbags - they do exist. We risk getting infected by diseases that could change our lives forever, diseases like AIDS and Hepatitis, things with no real cure. We are often very stressed after spending 12 hours trying to save a 16 year old who shot his brains out because he "couldn't take it anymore" and then we are expected to go home and be a spouse, parent, friend, neighbor as if nothing at all happened that day. We do not get weekends, holidays, nights off because we must be there whenever patients need us. Am I bitter - no - in fact I love my job and I enjoy my coworkers but it does get me riled up when news-makers who don't have a clue start saying we shouldn't be fairly compensated for the work we do.
I went to college for 6 years, I am still paying my student loans, $300/month - do I make a decent wage - yes but it is not a fortune as some would have us believe. I make less than computer geeks, movie stars, and politicians but more than waitresses and gas station attendants. I am now a Nurse Practice Manager so I also know what the Doctors in my group are paid - these are surgeons who take 72 hour call rotations on the weekends - they make between $125,000 and $165,000 per year and they are paying for two to three times more education than I am paying for.
The people that are the most vocal to us about what we are paid and what we "owe" them are those on welfare. There are exceptions to everything and some people on welfare are struggling through a rough patch and are thankful for any assistance given to them but the "lifers" are usually those who act entitled. They are often demanding that we perform every expensive medical test available whether the doctor believes it is necessary or not. The doctor often feels like he/she has to order these tests then or they fear they may be sued. This wastes so many of our tax dollars.Welfare lifers also expect us to arrange transportation for them, write them notes to get into public housing because their apartment is causing them anxiety for one reason or another.
The Future of Medicine
If politicians have their way then Doctors, Nurses, and others in the medical field will be taking measurable pay cuts in the near future (see Obama Care plans). There is already a serious shortage of Nurses which has lead to the creation of Medical Assistants covering the void. Medical Assistants play a very important role in medicine but they only take 3-8 months of training after High School thus putting more workload on Doctors to double check what the Medical Assistants are doing. Not ideal by any means.
There are less and less students going in to the medical field - less Doctors and Nurses. If they make the Doctors pay "average" who will be willing to take on the student loans, long hours, and liability of being a Doctor? I only want the best, brightest doctors taking care of me and my family don't you?