By Keith J. Loud, M.D.
The New York Times, Letters, June 11, 2019
To the Editor:
As a physician, I agree with Dr. Danielle Ofri’s assertion that most health care professionals have remained true to the highest ideals of their fields in the face of increasing corporatization and challenging working conditions. But I find her assertion of exploitation — at least of doctors — difficult to reconcile.
By and large physicians in the United States earn far more money than their peers in the rest of the world, placing us squarely in the top 2 percent, if not 1 percent, of American income distribution. The proliferation of health care administrators is attributable to an unnecessarily complex reimbursement system based on a private, for-profit insurance industry.
Yet the American Medical Association, the largest professional organization of physicians, actively lobbies against the administrative simplicity of Medicare for All. Moreover, physician groups have long opposed expansions in scope of practice for nurses, nurse practitioners and others who could allow physicians to concentrate on the most complex patients who need our expertise.
Doctors continue to be seen as leaders in health care. Rather than just lament the current state of affairs, we must acknowledge that we have been complicit, and make amends.