A big struggle for doctors is when they watch what goes on in the state and national legislatures and realize that there is very little knowledge of what they do, how they practice, and what they did to get where they are. There are no better examples of this failure to understand the nature of what physicians do than the debate over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2013.That episode was what put the fire in the belly of today’s author, Dr. Matt Moeller, to write his article that went viral and later led to a book.
There are quite a few stresses that cause lots of problems for practicing doctors
- Inconsistent schedules making a home life difficult to plan
- Multitasking by expecting doctors to do multiple things at once
- No downtime to get away from work where patient concerns (following up lab results, etc.) never stop even on vacation or after hours
- Rules and regulations
The Difference Between Income and Wealth
Doctors usually command a big income but don’t accumulate wealth until much later in life. This puts them at a disadvantage as income is taxed much more heavily than wealth. It also makes it much harder for doctors to catch up financially to others who began working in their 20s and compounded their wealth and were not as saddled with student debt.
How Do You Discourage Doctors?
- Keep technology complicated and makes doing their job harder.
- Insecurity among medical staff with their pay and jobs in perpetual jeopardy
- Turning them from decision makers into decision implementers (algorithm medicine)
- Escalating productivity expectations
- Increased responsibilities with decreased autonomy leading to learned helplessness
- Placing more barriers between physicians and their patients
Solutions to What Ails Health Care
- Simplify costs and reimbursement and increase transparency
- Reform tort laws
- Increase the role patients have in their own health through expanding HSAs
- Prevent chronic illnesses
- Reign in the numbers and salary of administrators
Dr. Matthew Moeller is a gastroenterologist in Grand Rapids, MI and the author of What It’s Like to Become a Doctor that addresses the journey through medicine training. The second half of the book spends time addressing the problems in medicine and some potential solutions.
Episode 142: Today’s show
Dear Lawmakers: This is what it’s like to be a doctor today: Dr. Moeller’s seminal piece that become viral and was reposted in mainstream media in 2013.
Live Free Now Podcast: Hosted by John Bush
Dr. Moeller on LinkedIn: LinkedIn link for Dr. Moeller.
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