A recent post on an online forum for radiologists about a "trashy Bravo TV show" called "Married to Medicine" recently caught my eye.
The original radioloigst poster on this blog urged readers to "take it with a grain of salt..it focuses on the gold digging wives of MDs and their fancy mansions and extravagant lifestyles".
<<....It perpetuates the myth of the billionaire physician rolling in the dough, raking it in. Especially at a time when doctors salaries have been slashed and most MDs are living an upper middle class life certainly not a Romney life. Ortho, ED, and OB GYN are featured. No radiologists thank goodness....>>
I think it is important to understand what is driving this - and the insidious, though critical, political purpose it serves in the context of the rapidly progressing government take-over of health care. In the overall scheme of things, the poster's observation and false sense of relief that radiologists per se were not one of the medical specialities portrayed in such fashion on this particular show, at this particular time, misses the point.
Trashy? Yes. But also very dangerous- to dismiss its power in shaping public opinon and support for government policy by using popular culture as a tool of propaganda to villainize doctors in general as the prime cause of America's health care woes.
Welcome to 1984- and the rise of State Bureau of Propaganda, staffed by Michael Moore and fellow billionaire Hollywood left-wing elitists.
Art, popular culture and mass media all have a tremdously powerful impact on shaping the political and cultural views of the masses. The modus operandi and the purpose of left wing supporters of government-run medicine in Hollywood is to portray and demonize all doctors as exploitative, fat cat billionaire Robber Barons running roughshod over patients. Cast as such, they are depicted as greedily exploiting patients and defrauding 3rd party payers by ordering unnecessary expensive tests with the sole purpose of paying for their own yachts, mansions and spoiled, pampered wives.
The consequences of government and 3rd party payer bureaucratic regulations, ever -expanding health system consolidation, unchecked patient demand for services in the ever progressing hyper-inflation of health insurance premiums and prices in medical and services can be thus ignored. We now have the "real" culprit: the unquenched thirst of doctors to bilk patients, the government and the system for ever more Porsches and Rolls-Royces and "deprive patients of their "inalienable right to unlimited medical services, provided by or paid for by others"- at least, as the producers of this show would have you believe...
Clearly such vicious exploiters of the helpless and weak proletariat require the heavy regulatory protective hand of benevolent, public-spirited, "chamnpion-of-the-little-people", government politicians to ride in on a white horse and save the day by reining in the financial abusives caused by unchecked greed, and slash reimbursements and the filthy, unearned lucre of greedy, over-paid capitalist doctors", thus protecting the rights of the proletariat from the exploitative bourgeosie.
Never mind the irrational, out- of- control medical malpractice laws which forces the hand of doctors in ordering extra unnecessary expensive diagnostic medical testing of marginal utility to avoid avoid potentially professionally catastrophic and bankrupting litigation by ruling out the "1 in 10,000,000 chance of a rare disease".... Or the low deductible, out- of- pocket expenses of most pre-paid health care policies which misleadingly cause the patient/ medical consumer to grossly under-estimate, and thus, grossly over-demand-and-consume inherently expensive medical diagnostic services, regardless of actual actionable medical benefit in some cases. The show is not designed to inform, but to mislead.
The purpose, intent and aim is to use the power of pop culture and popular media to shape the opinions of the uneducated underclass who watch trashy Bravo TV- even inflame class envy and warfare by making doctors the scapegoat. The dual goal- direct the voting public's attention away from the 50 years of progressively advancing failed government policies and regulations over the health insurance and medical services industry which actually lie at the root of the problems in the US health care system today.
This show represents an example of the propagandization of ObamaCare by Hollywood, warned about by Dr. Paul Hsieh, a radioloigst colleague in Colorado in his blog in Sept 2012 here:
"The 9/15/2012 New York Times reports on how government officials want Hollywood to promote ObamaCare in the plots of TV shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Modern Family"."
According to a recent article in Forbes online entitled "Obamacare's 73% Medicaid Pay Raise For Doctors Is Delayed":
"A huge pay raise promised under the Affordable Care Act for primary care doctors who treat the nation’s poor covered by Medicaid health insurance is nearly three months behind schedule and may take another three months before it kicks in, state Medicaid directors say..."
As Ben Franklin sagely pointed out: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Nor financial security, as it turns out...
A word to the wise is apparently insufficient. Those doctors and other medical care providers who were conned into voting for ObamaCare on the hope/expectation /promise of growing fat on increased payments / hand-outs from government -financed medical programs are about to learn the hard way . Making oneself dependent on the false promises and largesse of "beneficent" political operatives and administrators in Washington DC - is neither a tool for personal or professional liberty nor financial security. The ripple effect on voters/ patients/ the US health care system is sure to follow- as well as on your federal and state taxes:
If you just happen to be the type that might be re-assured that "the check is in the mail", don't forget that those who are empowered to write, or re-write, your check make the rules- and can change, re-write or cancel either- according to their personal whim, convenience and political expediency. #suckers