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Couldn't we fix the health care system by paying doctors less?
Slate ^ | Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009, at 6:33 PM ET | Christopher Beam

Posted on 09/12/2009 2:00:00 PM PDT by eartotheground

President Obama has promised to pay for health care reform mostly by ridding the system of wasteful spending. The message is that reform will be painless: We're cutting the fat, not the meat. But what if your paycheck is part of the fat? More to the point: Does cutting back on wasteful health care spending mean that doctors will make less money?

Actually, let's split that question in two. The first is whether U.S. doctors are overpaid. The second is whether paying them less would save all that much. The answers, respectively: yes and no.

There's no question that doctors in the United States make a lot of money, especially compared with their counterparts abroad. American doctors make, on average, four times what French doctors earn. And it's not just because everyone in America makes more money: The gap between doctors' incomes and those of professionals is far bigger in the United States than elsewhere. In the 1990s, the ratio of the average American doctor's income to the average American employee's income was about 5.5. In Germany, it was 3.4; Canada, 3.2; Australia, 2.2; Switzerland, 2.1; France, 1.9; Sweden, 1.5; the United Kingdom, 1.4.

(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: healthcare; medicine; obamacare; physicians; publicoption; socialism; socializedmedicine
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Well Chris, say you went to the local watering hole, and a bunch of folks upset about your article decided to stomp your bones. The ambulance picks you up, takes you to the hospital. You are diagnosed with a ruptured thoracic aorta (a tear in the huge artery in your chest that goes to your heart, for you journalists, attorneys and politicians out there). A quick trip to the OR and a cardiothoracic surgeon cracks your chest and saves your life. Of course, this cardiothoracic surgeon had to endure 7 or 8 years of post-medical school training at a minimum wage salary, plus being under the threat of being fired from the residency/fellowship at any time for the slightest problem, or just on a whim. Now he's made the "big time" but has to pay hundreds of thousands a year in liability insurance, be on call 24/7, not to mention having to endure idiocy from government bureaucrats, attorneys, as well as "journalists" like you.

Anyway, in spite of the understandable temptation to do otherwise, he saves your miserable life. Now, is he still overpaid?

Maybe "journalists" are overpaid. Surgeons have to be right 100% of the time, you guys just have to be close once in a while perhaps.

Don't worry tho, all those "overpaid" physicians are out looking for an exit strategy right now. So if you're going to get sick, better do it soon before all the smart doctors are gone.

1 posted on 09/12/2009 2:00:01 PM PDT by eartotheground
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To: eartotheground

I don’t want the GOVERNMENT determining anyone’s income that is working for it.


2 posted on 09/12/2009 2:01:01 PM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: eartotheground

You get what you pay for.

Me? I want any and every doctor who looks at me, much less operates on me, to live like a Persian King.


3 posted on 09/12/2009 2:01:35 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Communism comes to America: 1/20/2009. Keep your powder dry, folks. Sic semper tyrannis)
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To: eartotheground

Sure. Why not force them to work for free?


4 posted on 09/12/2009 2:01:48 PM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 234 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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To: nmh

Can’t we fix the MSM corruption problem by paying them less?


5 posted on 09/12/2009 2:01:56 PM PDT by mazda77 (Rubio for US Senate)
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To: eartotheground

Why the Democrats just raised the minimum wage! That should be good enough for all the new doctors under ObamaCare!


6 posted on 09/12/2009 2:02:54 PM PDT by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: nmh
As long as the doctors want to work for government, their pay will be controlled by government.

If you cut out health care for illegals, the doctors income will be reduced, because their billing of the tax payers will stop.

7 posted on 09/12/2009 2:03:16 PM PDT by org.whodat (Vote: Chuck De Vore in 2012.)
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To: eartotheground

Thanks, eartotheground. I like the idea of exposing journalists to the same kinds of liability to which doctors are exposed. I have a few suits I could bring right away. Then we’ll see how journalists feel about tort reform.


8 posted on 09/12/2009 2:03:19 PM PDT by Juan Medén
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To: eartotheground

“Couldn’t we fix the health care system by paying doctors less?”

Profits are evil.

-American left.


9 posted on 09/12/2009 2:04:43 PM PDT by Grunthor (Everything I need to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11.)
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To: eartotheground

I totally agree. The amount of money it takes to educate these people is unreal. I also know GP’s that make less than $50K.....that’s after paying thousands in insurance to cover crazy law suits. I’ve told my doctor to never worry about me suing him. He’s a great guy and if he makes a mistake, it’s a mistake, nothing more.


10 posted on 09/12/2009 2:06:02 PM PDT by RC2 (Our Failure is Not an Option)
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To: eartotheground

How about we fix the health care system by paying lawyers less.


11 posted on 09/12/2009 2:07:23 PM PDT by Tarpon (The Joker's plan -- Slavery by debt so large it can never be repaid...)
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To: eartotheground

That’s one of the ways the soviets kept costs down. Worked wonders. LOL


12 posted on 09/12/2009 2:07:50 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Seniors, the new shovel ready project under socialized medicine.)
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To: eartotheground
Couldn't we fix the health care system by paying doctors less?

Do you feel lucky, punk?

Well, DO YA?

13 posted on 09/12/2009 2:09:07 PM PDT by Jim Noble (I hope Sarah will start a 2nd party soon)
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To: eartotheground

Excellent!

And many doctors are small business owners of their own medical practice, or partner with other doctors in one.

Just like lawyers... but I don’t hear anyone in DC threatening to control how much money lawyers and law firms can make.


14 posted on 09/12/2009 2:09:11 PM PDT by LibFreeOrDie (Obama promised a gold mine, but he will give us the shaft.)
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To: eartotheground

Good one - I’m still not sure that’s graphic enough for “Chris” to get through his thick head! BTW Chris, in the future, the ambulance driver will also be the one doing your surgery. Let us know how that works out for ya.


15 posted on 09/12/2009 2:10:04 PM PDT by GnuHere
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To: eartotheground

Yes Chris...American Doctors are overpaid....let’s reduce their compensation and after you get your ass kicked senseless, you can trot on down to the local ER where Dr.Faheem El Jabar Mohammed Zaid, recently express-visa’d in from Afghanistan can treat your extensive wounds.


16 posted on 09/12/2009 2:10:07 PM PDT by Gaffer
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To: eartotheground
Couldn't we fix the health care system by paying doctors less?

Try Tort reform and eliminating Government interference. The free market will take care of the rest.


17 posted on 09/12/2009 2:10:16 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Lets get dangerous)
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To: eartotheground

Start by paying the ambulance chasing LAWYERS LESS!!!!


18 posted on 09/12/2009 2:10:21 PM PDT by goodnesswins (George Orwell would be proud. Truth are lies, Slavery is Freedom, Oppression is Feminism.)
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To: eartotheground

Gee Chris you left out what are the doctors in Kenya paid.I cant believe your that dumb oh wait your a journalists. Never mind.


19 posted on 09/12/2009 2:10:28 PM PDT by bikerman (Buck Farack)
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To: goodnesswins

BINGO!


20 posted on 09/12/2009 2:11:11 PM PDT by bikerman (Buck Farack)
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To: All

Unlike career politicians and journalists, doctors perform a valuable service to the world.
Ask the average person who they trust more: The media, the government, or their doctor...


21 posted on 09/12/2009 2:11:37 PM PDT by Maverick68 (w)
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To: eartotheground

This guy doesn’t “get it”. Doctors have huge malpractice premiums that they have to pay to protect themselves from Barack’s BIG lawyer donor base.


22 posted on 09/12/2009 2:11:39 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Americans! "Behaving badly" since April 19, 1775!)
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To: eartotheground

News anchors and editors are overpaid...


23 posted on 09/12/2009 2:12:44 PM PDT by tips up
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To: eartotheground

“Don’t worry tho, all those “overpaid” physicians are out looking for an exit strategy right now. So if you’re going to get sick, better do it soon before all the smart doctors are gone.”

People have little idea what’s involved in medical training or being a physician. Why spend most of your youth training for a job that pays you 1.4 times the average worker, like this guy says they do in the UK. Actually, the numbers he’s using do not give an accurate picture since they probably reflect only national health service pay, not including the substantially more money made seeing private patients on the side. Physicians can double or triple their income seeing private patients in these countries. A friend I trained with is making ~1 million dollars a year in a European country. As a physician in the US I make a small fraction of that. I consider it a blessing and a privilege to practice medicine, but I also have to pay the bills. Most of us have had to consider exit strategies.


24 posted on 09/12/2009 2:12:55 PM PDT by pieceofthepuzzle
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To: eartotheground

The author deserves the moron of the millenium award.

As many segments of our society (esp. those in sports and entertainment) are paid gazillions, he wants those with the highest level of responsiblity, intelligence and education to take a pay cut?

Sure, that’ll work!


25 posted on 09/12/2009 2:14:08 PM PDT by Joann37
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To: eartotheground
More to the point: Does cutting back on wasteful health care spending mean that doctors will make less money?

Depends upon what the politicians definition of wasteful spending is....that's the biggest problem with government takeover of anything.

26 posted on 09/12/2009 2:14:11 PM PDT by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: eartotheground

Christopher Beam, couldn't we fix journalism by paying 'journalist' less?

27 posted on 09/12/2009 2:15:02 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: Tarpon

Or the govt by not paying Congress and eliminating lobbyist money? Does that make sense to you, Chris?


28 posted on 09/12/2009 2:15:45 PM PDT by GnuHere
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To: eartotheground

Here are some of my ideas.

Tort reform-which would solve all kinds of trouble, not just the health care stuff

Enabling purchasing of coverage across state lines-more competition=lower prices

Boutique health care=again more competition-lower prices

More places like the urgent care kiosks in some WalMarts that are run by nurse practitioners

Let the so-called free market work to fix this.

There is way too much regulation of everything to be throwing around words like free market.

It hasn’t been truly free in decades.


29 posted on 09/12/2009 2:16:21 PM PDT by Califreak (If it's Astroturf, why are you trying to mow it?(sign seen at a town hall meeting))
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To: eartotheground

There are about 750,000 doctors in the US. If HR 3200 passes, or if their pay were to be cut by this stupid idea, you’d see 150-200 THOUSAND docs retire.

So YES. Let’s reduce the number of docs from 750K to 550K AND add 30 Million (Pres. Obama’s new number) more patients. No sir. No rationing here. Nothing to see.

Move along.

Idiots. The Law of supply and demand cannot and will not be repealed by Congress. If even they really really, truly truly, for sure, want to do so.

http://www.timothyforcongress.com


30 posted on 09/12/2009 2:16:59 PM PDT by ziravan (FReeper for Congress: www.TimothyforCongress.com)
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To: eartotheground

Follow the Chrysler model for starters: Force all the Republican and Independent MDs out of practice, then force the remaining Democrat MDs to engage in ‘volunteer community service’ 20 hours a month, and, then in return, for the ‘privilege’ of working indoors in a publicly necessary institution (a hospital), pay them a ‘minimum’ professional wage a little higher than average to ensure some degree of dedication. Of course, cadres of politically correct compliance should monitor every minute of the professional day to ensure improved, continual compliance with continually adapted operational changes and performance criteria. The patients will be assured that the best is, what is, and, that any complaints from them will be viewed as competing with governments own assessments, being unpatriotic, and will be punished for comprising heretical dissonance.


31 posted on 09/12/2009 2:17:58 PM PDT by givemELL (Does Taiwan Meet the Criteria to Qualify as an "Overseas Territory of the United States"? by Richar)
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To: nmh

We could save billions by not paying the lawyers so much.


32 posted on 09/12/2009 2:18:28 PM PDT by mountainlion (concerned conservative.)
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To: eartotheground

Well said. I’ll pitch in my two cents worth:

For the reasons you stated as well as many others, this is one of the stupidest, ignorant, moronic, azzinine, and worthless “ideas” I’ve read in a long time. Even zero isn’t this daft. Yet.


33 posted on 09/12/2009 2:18:54 PM PDT by piytar (Bussing in SEIU brownshirts to intimidate regular Americans is REAL FASCISM! NRA Lifetime Member)
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To: eartotheground

Don’t forget the hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans the physician is paying off.

When folks start talking about doctors being forced to take less compensation, I wonder how many people would go through what they do to make five eight minimum wage. I sure as well wouldn’t.

If I spent about 22 years being educated and trained, I’d want considerably more out of it than $50k per year.

This is just another example of the communist mindset. Everyone should make ‘X’ dollars and be totally equal. Who cares if person ‘B’ didn’t apply themselves and person ‘A’ did.

What a moronic mindset.


34 posted on 09/12/2009 2:19:41 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Wearing neck brace in commemoration of Ted Kennedy's contribution to our society.)
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To: eartotheground
You are diagnosed with a ruptured thoracic aorta (a tear in the huge artery in your chest that goes to your heart, for you journalists, attorneys and politicians out there). A quick trip to the OR and a cardiothoracic surgeon cracks your chest and saves your life.

My mindset when it happened to me (9 years ago now) and I was almost left for dead via organ shutdown, I didn't worry that the thoracic surgeon made $130,000 for 8 hours of work to save my life.

He did a good job, knew what he was doing, and earned every damn penny of it!

Even though I showed shut down organs at the time, I am as healthy as can be ten years after.

Only in a free America can this be possible.

35 posted on 09/12/2009 2:20:27 PM PDT by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: piytar

Oh yes he is. When he talks about the health care industry having to make do with less reimbursement, this is exactly what he’s talking about. “Those physicians who take out tonsils and amputate legs are just greedy.” And Obama, BTW, physicians don’t take out tonsils anymore you nincompoop.


36 posted on 09/12/2009 2:22:28 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Wearing neck brace in commemoration of Ted Kennedy's contribution to our society.)
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To: eartotheground

As the wife of a specialist( I am also a nurse), I get real irritated at the push for primary care physicians.
Medicine requires a great deal of knowledge, and PCPs cannot know everything about every disease.
It is like having a handyman fix the electrical wiring in your house, instead of an electrician.
PCPs are good for the basic stuff, and can tell if a patient has a medical problem that needs intervention.
But usually, patients get referred to the specialist to get the definitive treatment- especially in cancer, cardiac, orthopedic, nephrology, etc. care.
Not to say PCPs are not needed, but specialists usually have 4-5 more years of training, and need to be compensated for that.
PCPs also no longer take call from the hospitals. They have given up that role to the intensivists. PCPs work 9-5.
My husband is up all night in the hospital putting people back together again.
This push to primary care will worsen our healthcare. The HMOs tried it in the early 1980s- and people complained about their health care.
Specialty care costs more as specialists have more tricks up their sleeves. The government wants cheap care.
My friends who are also specialists predict if Obamacare passes- within 5 years there will be a significant physician shortage. Physicians ( who are mostly baby boomers) will retire in disgust.


37 posted on 09/12/2009 2:22:45 PM PDT by kaila
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To: DoughtyOne

doctors already are underpaid through Medicare so to cover expenses of running office/equipment/malpractice/student loans they charge way more for private patients. so the government’s interference has helped create this two-tier situation. more and more of them will refuse Medicare patients, go totally private and aggravate an already bad doctor shortage.


38 posted on 09/12/2009 2:24:52 PM PDT by avital2
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To: null and void
Sure. Why not force them to work for free?

Somebody has to pay for the educated talent.

Take it away from the doctors, there are fewer and poorer doctors.

Take it away from the universities who teach the doctors and there are fewer professors.

Pay them all appropriately and let the victim of health pay for it for the rest of their lives if they haven't planned on the worst of times to hit them personally.

Personal freedom dictates that the individual make the decision.

Sadly enough personal freedom is rapidly becoming a thought from the past any more.

39 posted on 09/12/2009 2:28:38 PM PDT by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: org.whodat
To Chris and other idiots, some one or two of which post here. As is posted here, drs. with EXPERTISE, not those minimally qualified in heart, brain, orthopedic, eye etc. specialties, work and study half their lives to obtain that expertise, going into debt, living on a little more than nurse's pay, getting little rest, and being jerked around by hospital admin., the govt. and division supervisors. Then, when about 33 or 34, they go into private practice where they have overhead, horrendous ins. liability and other bills, and their gross looks like they really make a lot.

NOTE TO CHRIS! If they accept Medicare and Medicaid, thus giving aid to those on these govt. programs, they necessarily bill the taxpayers. The first line of defense in cutting costs has ALWAYS been cutting drs, hospitals, all med services remuneration, and it is now being proposed again.

Our son in law's clinic has not been reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid for June, July, and August. Hey Chris, how about helping the dinosaur media by going without YOUR pay for 3 months.

How about Congress going without their pay for three months to help the deficit. Our son-in-law worked and studied until he was 33 to keep improving his medical skills. He attends 3 to 4 working conferences a year to keep up--real, all day work, not partying conferences. He is very good at what he does, and he deserves to make a good living without being browbeaten by Obama's minions and followers.

Chris and like minded people do not deserve expert health care.

No Obamacare! No way! No time!

Lenin said in 1920 when Russia nationalized health care that for a state to control its citizens it had to control healthcare.

What in hell is the matter with these idiots that think giving Obama's goons a chance to control all our lives is a GOOD thing. It is an invitation to rationing, selective access, graft, corruption, higher cost, and much lower success rate.

vaudine

40 posted on 09/12/2009 2:29:25 PM PDT by vaudine
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To: darkwing104
Try Tort reform and eliminating Government interference. The free market will take care of the rest.

Yes, it will, that is something the AMA has fought for years.

41 posted on 09/12/2009 2:29:50 PM PDT by org.whodat (Vote: Chuck De Vore in 2012.)
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To: eartotheground

Well said, eartotheground, I’ll only add that Chris is an idiot.


42 posted on 09/12/2009 2:30:36 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: vaudine
And your point is what!!! Other than No Obamacare! No way! No time!

Which we all agree with.

43 posted on 09/12/2009 2:32:18 PM PDT by org.whodat (Vote: Chuck De Vore in 2012.)
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To: eartotheground

Is this guy joking?

I work with physicians (medical malpractice) and let me tell you FOR CERTAIN they are ready to bail, as in retire/quit, if this Obama nightmare happens.

They are telling anyone who asks that your future “medical provider” WILL be a nurse practitioner or a physicians assistant.

You can’t add 30,000,000 to a system that already has a physician shortage. What a disaster this will be.


44 posted on 09/12/2009 2:36:45 PM PDT by Reagan69 (The only thing SHOVEL-READY since BO's stimulus has been MICHAEL JACKSON (tammy bruce))
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To: eartotheground

Can tell you,as a GP doctor, that in France doctors are underpaid and there is a big shortage of doctors worsening as a result....
You should not try


45 posted on 09/12/2009 2:37:53 PM PDT by Ulysse
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To: null and void
Why not force them to work for free?

The dems could reinstate the draft and pick all the doctors. Give them military salaries. Same for journalists.

46 posted on 09/12/2009 2:37:57 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault
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To: jazusamo

Recently I’ve spoken with several medical students. When they graduate they often have accumulated debt of 100- to 200 thousand dollars (sometimes more) for all their years in medical school. Perhaps the universities ( vastly run by liberals) are charging way too much for tuition-—nobody in the LSM seems to address that fact.


47 posted on 09/12/2009 2:40:05 PM PDT by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: avital2

Yes they are. So are hospitals. That’s why it’s so absurd for Obama to claim the government won’t short change them, and thereby us. They’re already doing it, and have been for decades now.


48 posted on 09/12/2009 2:40:06 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Wearing neck brace in commemoration of Ted Kennedy's contribution to our society.)
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To: Right Wing Assault

Good grief they probably would if they could.

That plan has probably been written up already.


49 posted on 09/12/2009 2:40:08 PM PDT by Califreak (If it's Astroturf, why are you trying to mow it?(sign seen at a town hall meeting))
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To: eartotheground
Of course, this cardiothoracic surgeon had to endure 7 or 8 years of post-medical school training at a minimum wage salary, plus being under the threat of being fired from the residency/fellowship at any time for the slightest problem, or just on a whim ... Anyway, in spite of the understandable temptation to do otherwise, he saves your miserable life. Now, is he still overpaid?

GREAT post! BRAVO!

I always thought that the "deadly" in the term "seven deadly sins" was an exaggeration. I was wrong.

This simple-minded Christopher Beam is a perfect demonstration of how envy -- one of the Seven Deadly -- indeed leads to death and dying.

Making envy a culturally permissable guide of action is killing this nation.

50 posted on 09/12/2009 2:40:24 PM PDT by Finny ("Raise hell. Vote smart." -- Ted Nugent.)
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