We should have all been cardiologists

 - 
06/26/2009
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Here's a personal story with a connection to HME and healthcare reform.

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About eight years ago, when the dot-com boom was booming (but not for me, of course), some Internet entrepreneur with more money than Fort Knox and a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader for a wife (at least that's how she looked), bought an old stone house on the Maine coast about a mile from our neighborhood . People loved that stone house. I don't know if it's true, but someone told me that Betty Davis once lived in it.

Long story short: The Internet dude tore it down, and began to build a big blue mansion. Unfortunately, when the boom busted, the guy went backrupt. The Big Blue House, as we called it, sat empty for 2 years before a retired cardiologist bought it for $5 million.

I started thinking about cardiologists this morning (I should have been one) because my daughter has a friend who's dad is a cardiologist. He drives a gold Mercedes SUV, and the family lives in a large house on a bluff overlooking the rocky Maine coast.

Neither of these cardiologists are hurting, obviously, and I don't begrudge them anything. But it seems to me, that given all they've got, Congress could cut reimbursement for cardiologists by, say, 10%, without crimping their lifestyles.

If Congress, as it pieces together healthcare reform, did the same to other high-paid medical specialists, they'd save a ton of money–way more money than they'll ever save by cutting oxygen reimbursement 30% and/or eliminating the first-month purchase option for power wheelchairs.

Of course, the AMA is a powerful lobby and I'm not sure Congress has the stomach or the heart to take it on.

Mike Moran