The general perception in society seems to be that doctors charge too much . They are seen to be greedy; loaded with money ; drive around in a Mercedes ; and play golf on weekends. They are perceived as being crooked because they make a lot of money on the side by : cheating health insurers by padding hospital bills; taking kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies for prescribing their brands; and from diagnostic centers for referring patients for expensive scans and tests which are unnecessary .
Ironically, people don't mind splurging money on luxuries ( such as going to dinner at a 5-star hotel or going for a holiday abroad), because they value the experience this provides them. However, they grudge having to spend money on their medical care. They feel this is money which was wasted , because all the doctor does is get you back to normal – it doesn’t leave you any better off than you were ! This is why going to a doctor is seen as a wasteful expense, rather than as a positive investment in your health.
When you are ill, you are willing to pay the doctor whatever he wants. When you recover, then you grudge him his fees !
This reminds me of the joke of the businessman and the doctor.
When the wealthy businessman choked on a fish bone at a restaurant, he was fortunate that a doctor was seated at a nearby table.Springing up, the doctor skillfully removed the bone and saved his life.As soon as the fellow had calmed himself and could talk again, he thanked the surgeon enthusiastically and offered to pay him for his services."Just name the fee," he croaked gratefully."Okay," replied the doctor. "How about half of what you'd have offered when the bone was still stuck in your throat?"
Be that as it may, how much should a doctor charge ?
This is a difficult question to answer, so let’s look at what our wise judiciary has to say about how much a human life is worth.
If a doctor is negligent, and a patient dies as a result of this, the court is willing to award damages in crores of rupees. Using the same yardstick, then the doctor saves the patient’s life, then why shouldn’t he charge 0.1% of the value of the life saved ? I am sure most doctors would be very happy with this !
We need to be consistent, and it’s unfair to pay doctors so little when they do their job well; and to then punish them so severely when they don’t ! Pediatricians would easily become the richest specialists, because of the number of quality life-years they add to a child’s life.