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Vail Daily letter: Docs aren’t the bad guys

Vail Daily
Vail, CO Colorado

Think about this. You own a clothing or shoe store. Clothing and shoes are essential. Maybe you own a restaurant or grocery store. Food is essential for life. The government determines that since food and clothing are necessities (like health care), they are now entitlements (like health care) and creates a program in which they set the amount you may charge for your commodity. Tied into that, the government says that they will not pay for items such as cycling shoes or high heels over 2 inches. The government will not pay for foods such as french fries and soda. The denial is based on the determination by bureaucrats who doubt the nutritional value of french fries and soda, hate cycling and feel that they are not necessities.

Get my drift? That is exactly what has happened in the med-ical profession. One difference is that physicians spend more than 12 years getting educated and many come out of medical school with more than $200,000 in debt. Over the past 20 years, we physicians have experienced a continuous and unrelenting invasion into how we may treat our patients and run our busi-ness. Medicare has a 21.5 percent reduction in physician fees planned for 2010, and many private insurance reimbursements are tied into the Medicare reimbursement schedule. We are hoping that it is reversed.

With all of that said, physicians still participate in gratis programs such as Doctors Without Borders and, in my profession of podiatry, the Baja Children’s Project. I personally know a podiatrist who recently spent two weeks in Honduras treating patients at his own expense. Physicians have taken all of these changes in the rules and reimbursements in stride. Mainstream physicians have not been included in the discussion pertaining to health- care reform. Today ( Oct. 5), President Obama is meeting with a handpicked group of physicians to dis-cuss his plan. Let’s hope there will be some positive results to that meeting. The AMA has gone along with Obamacare, but the AMA represents only about 29 per-cent of the MDs in the country and none of the other medical disciplines.



What if like Norm Archer ( Peter Finch) in ” Network,” all the physicians in the country said, ” We are mad as hell, and we are not going to take it anymore!” What if every physician in the country took a one- week holiday at the same time? No surgeries, no checkups, no docs, no health care.

This government needs to stop making physicians out to be the bad guys and let us partake in the health care reform discussion. Our president has made some ridicu-lous statements implying that physicians are opting for foot amputations for diabetics ( with ulcers) because amputations are more profitable than treating the patient ( actually untrue). The president accused doctors of taking out tonsils for the higher reimbursements rather than treating the patient. Those are uninformed and ridiculous fear- mongering statements.



If the Congress passes the Obama-Pelosi-Reid health care reform, this country will lose the cream of the crop. Nobody wants to be the ” bad guy.”

Join the Vail Valley 912 Project if this interests you.

– Dr. Michael Schneider, Vail


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