Wednesday, January 05, 2005

ambulance chasers and drunken doctors

The money, in the medical industry, goes straight to the top. Corporate executives are among the highest paid in the US. forty years ago, that overhead just wasn't there, and went to your local doctor.

The average surgeon in the US earned $78,000 last year - more that I make but it doesn't really seem like a lot. They spend nearly 50% of their time and profits administering paperwork for HMOs, insurance, Medicaid, etc. They did go to school longer than I did, and I want them to be well rested when they put a knife in me.

Insurance is expensive to them, but the rise in malpractice insurance precisely tracks the rise in insurance company profits - not court cases by ambulance chasers, not doctors drunkenly snipping out the wrong kidney.

We are swamped with immigrants in many parts of this country, and they indeed use emergency rooms for their urgent care needs, and this raises the price of hospital care for all of us. California is particularly impacted by this, and receives less monetary support from the federal government per capita than most states, when reasonably we should be compensated for this federal problem (California is not, yet, a soveriegn nation, and can't be expected to protect a federal border on its own).

Californians are also nearly twice as likely as residents of most other states to file a Workman's Comp claim. Since medical services are compensated at wholesale rates, this also increases medical costs for those of us who don't file WC claims.

IMO we, the richest nation in the world with the best Doctors, Nurses, and Hospitals, should make a system where we never deny the best medical care to anyone regardless of their ability to pay - anything less is shameful.

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