I want doctors to make money. Frankly, I want them to make a lot of money. They don't have to make as much as Oprah, who made $275 million last year; or George Lucas, who made $170 million, or Stephen Spielberg, who made $150 million. Heck, both Tiger Woods and Madonna made $110 million last year.
The average doctor pay is less than what members of Congress make, and specialists average an amount that's not much better, and that's before you factor in all the free food, travel and outright graft that some members of Congress will be able to add.
I don't begrudge congressional salaries, but I sure as heck don't think what they do is as hard as brain surgery or doing a heart transplant. When I was a kid, it was assumed that the valedictorian would probably go to med school. Being a doctor was pretty much for the best and brightest and we assumed they would make the best money because they were smart and would have to be in school about four times longer than the rest of us just to become a doctor; then they would be on call 24 hours a day and have to get called out of church and their kids' ballgames to hurry to the hospital to take care of people who got banged up in a car wreck or had a stroke.
I want my doctor to make good money. I want him or her to be the smartest kid in his class, not the average. I want my doctor to enjoy being a doctor, and don't want the doctor coming into the operating room worrying about paying the rent, but thinking of how to keep me healthy enough so I can pay my own rent. If we keep talking about limiting doctor salaries, we might get people who really aren't that good, but they were willing to do the job at a discount.
I don't care if Oprah made $275 million last year or if Kobe Bryant brought down $45 million. But if a member of my family has a brain tumor, I don't want Oprah or Kobe doing the operation. I want the best neurosurgeon I can find, and I won't be looking for the low bidder or seeing if there is a coupon in the paper for 10% off the cost. I want someone who has worked real hard to know what he's doing and does it well. And if he's really, really good at it, he'll still only make about a penny for each dollar that Oprah makes.
If one of the results of the government fixing health care is to encourage the smart people to do what Oprah does and the dumb people to become doctors, then thanks, but no thanks. I need a good doctor a lot more than I need Oprah. And I want my doctor to make a lot of money.
That's my view, I welcome yours. E-mail your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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