I Am a Lecherous Shyster.
For some reason Elisabeth Rosenthal is angry. Maybe she’s got a headache. Maybe her ex is a doctor. Maybe her cat died. Why else this one-sided evisceration of doctors in the New York Times this morning? http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/health/patients-costs-skyrocket-specialists-incomes-soar.html?hp&_r=0. All doctors are out to get your money. I’m out to get your money. My whole motivation for killing myself in school and impoverishing myself with loans is to get your money. Yep. You found me out.
I realize that fair and balanced reporting is all in the eyes of the beholder. CBS did a story recently about how all doctors are essentially whiners. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/1-million-mistake-becoming-a-doctor/. Ben Brown wrote a mathematical masterpiece that indirectly refutes Rosenthal’s position that doctors make this big mess of money. http://benbrownmd.wordpress.com. But if you hate doctors you will believe Rosenthal and if you are a doctor you’ll believe Ben. I can’t change the doctor-hater’s minds.
Look. I make a good living. Sorry. I show up at work, anesthetize the people I’m assigned to anesthetize, go home, and do it again the next day. For this privilege I worked hard. Someone pays me good money for it. Sorry. You can be an anesthesiologist if you like. I had no special advantages. But if you think I make too much, OK. My good friend Kevin Tabb, the CEO of my hospital, makes a whole lot more than me. Is he a lecherous shyster too? My brother-in-law makes bank, and I mean bank, on Wall Street. The owners of Elisabeth Rosenthal’s newspaper? Bank.
I have no idea where my salary comes from. I didn’t get to negotiate. It’s certainly not what Rosenthal thinks it is. I wouldn’t have the first idea how to “maximize profits.” If I ran the world we’d all be broke and my kids’ pre-school teachers would be making a million dollars. However, I cannot deny that some doctors have profits in mind when they care for you. That sucks and I wish it weren’t true. But what’s the difference between my lecherous colleagues, Kevin Tabb, my brother-in-law, and the major shareholders of the New York Times Company? Nothing. We are all capitalists. Wall street is capitalism. The NYT is on the New York Stock Exchange and that’s capitalism. The American medical system is also capitalism. Free-market healthcare. It is. So why vilify workers in a system designed to make people money for maximizing profits? Isn’t that the whole point? If my brother-in-law didn’t spend every waking moment trying to make money he’d get fired. But I’m a selfish rich person? You all agreed, I guess, that you want a capitalistic healthcare market. “Universal healthcare is socialism”, remember? Then you can’t blame doctors for being capitalists. Sorry.