Friday, April 23, 2010


So, I avoid politics on this blog. I find it's a topic that is unpleasant whenever discussed unless you are certain that the other person shares your exact view. And hence, I'm not going to rant to anyone about health care reform or anything else along those lines.


Some things are too ridiculous to watch them roll past without comment. In my post third year reading (for fun!) I came across the story of Sue Lowden, the woman running for Senate from Nevada. Ms. Lowden has an interesting idea of how to move forward health care reform in this country. The barter system.

She states, in nearly so many words, that doctors should, in fact, be paid by barter, specifically citing the fact that in the past docs have accepted chickens and paint jobs for their houses as reimbursement.

I wish I were kidding.

My questions are these, Ms. Lowden:

1)Should I pay my tuition this semester with eggs? I am actually fairly skilled at making paper airplanes, I could potentially pay for tuition with those instead...

2)When I have my future practice and I need to order new equipment or lab supplies, do you think I'll be able to, in turn, pay for things with the barter system as well? Or will I actually have to make money by taking on a second job at the grocery store (likely the only thing I could be qualified to do outside of medicine) so that I can cover the costs of my patients' care?

3)Will the electric company, landlord, heat, internet, etc also work on the barter system, or shall I rely on my husband to pay for that for the rest of my life?

4)Do you really think that doctor reimbursement is what drives the cost of healthcare up? Do you think so many docs are jumping ship to take on jobs in the corporate sector because they are just rolling in dough? Do you think that bartering, to some extent, does not already go on for the good of the patient?

Ms. Lowden believes that doctors are an altruistic bunch and I agree. However, they are human and they are citizens of this country too. They are people with families of their own and they undergo a difficult training which leaves them sidled with debt. How can we possibly in all seriousness afford to take care of ourselves and our families. Why should the (way over 40) hours we work a week be worth nothing because what we do helps people? I fully intend to provide pro bono care as a regular part of my career and I truly believe that everyone deserves health care. I don't aspire to be a rich woman from practicing medicine. I also don't pretend to know the answer to how to fix health care. I just know that this ain't it.


medicine girl said...

Ugh, here's a brief video ( in which Ms. Lowden reiterates her support for a health care barter system -- she says she's not backing down from it.

I'm shocked that she thinks a barter system could possibly work for physicians with hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans to repay. Or in the absence of other professionals participating in the barter system as well.

I agree that doctors are an increasingly altruistic bunch, but why should altruism -- unselfish concern for the welfare of others -- imply willingness to sacrifice ourselves or the well being of our families? We already sacrifice a great deal during and beyond our training.

Neuro Nursing Nerd said...

Hello!!! It's your sister :-) I decided to start a blog. You should check it out! By the way this Ms. Lowden character sounds like an idiot. Miss you!

Tanya said...

Damn..I was preparing a dozen eggs for you...guess I'll put them back in the fridge. =)