Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why health care reform?

Every time I pull open the door to the stairwell leading to the Emergency Department I am forced to smile at one of the retired CEO's of my institution.

"He's there in the hospital?" you exclaim.

"No, nothing like that," is my reply. "He and his wife have larger than life portraits in the hallway. I pull the door open and I have to face them before I can descend the stairs. Anyone waiting for the elevator sees them. Well dressed and glowing, they pose for the artist. They are currently living in a very up scale neighborhood of this city. That is of course when they are not in their other home in another state. This gentleman made a sizable fortune from the business of health care."

"What is wrong with that?" you ask. "This is America."

"Ah yes. America indeed." I muse. "America is the place where a hospital can be a not for profit, gather in large donations, charge patients, and the government. This is 'A great humanitarian hospital.' Make no mistake. We do good work here. And I have made a good living doing it. Yet, in all the years I have been in practice, my total salary (all 24 years of it) has not come close to what this man made from this hospital system in ONE year."

"Amazing," you say.

"No, America. And it is why America needs health care reform."
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