Emergency Medicine News:
Letter to the Editor
Michael Jacobsen, DO, stated that his letter to us was “an apolitical message.” (“A Letter to the Country from an Emergency Physician;” EMN eNews 2012 Nov 1; http://bit.ly/QWIY4u.) It was nothing of the sort. He may have fooled us for a while until he started foaming at the mouth about the problems with progressivism, giving us all a fair shot at making a good living, making wealthier people pay more in taxes, and then some completely false statement about removing the work requirement from welfare. It doesn't take a genius to know who he voted for in the last election. Our guess is that he voted against the majority of us.
As a nation with a median household income of about $52,000, we really have a hard time listening to how hard the life is of an individual making five times that in a stable job market. It must be nice working in a field where he doesn't have to worry about losing his job on a daily basis. It must be nice getting government assistance during training and then pretending that he did it all by himself. Did he forget about all that government assistance he got during residency? Well, let us remind him.
If he trained in America, Medicare (through direct and indirect graduate medical education) was his primary source of funding. The next two largest sources of funding were from Medicaid and the Veteran's Administration. I imagine he has heard of these federal government agencies. He didn't think hospitals would just train him out of the goodness of their hearts in a free market system, did he? If he completed a three-year residency, the funding for his graduate medical education was approximately $90,000 per year, or $270,000 for residency. That amount of money is more than we pay in welfare for a family of four over 20 years. He hasn't gotten a bill for this because it was free. That's right: free! You're welcome.
The American people have paid for part of his education with our hard-earned tax dollars. We all wish the American government would also give us a quarter million dollars for training. We also gave him very low interest rates on education loans to pay for the rest of his education, and then we paid a large portion of his yearly salary. When We the People make investments, we like to have a say in how those investments are run. Think about that when we make mandates. I really don't think he'd hear us whining so much if we were all fortunate enough to be treated as well as he is.
Maybe we should spend a lot less money on physicians and a lot more on physician assistants and nurse practitioners who can do about 90–95 percent of his job with half the training and at a small fraction of the cost.
By the way, those surveys he complains so much about; they are not our idea. The government didn't come up with that dumb idea. We agree; those surveys annoy us, too. Patient satisfaction surveys were and still are marketing tools, used so that hospitals can make more money. Complain to your administrators, not the people of America. We have crappy bosses, too.
We Americans have always held physicians in such high esteem, until recently. All physicians seem to do nowadays is whine about how hard the work is, how little money they make, and how they don't want to be held responsible for their mistakes. Talk about entitled!
Daniel K. Mullin, MD,
New Jerseyon behalf of the people of the United States