By Michael J. Katin, MD
I never took Economics in college, which distinguishes me from most of
the directors of Enron,
but I remember once hearing the definition of the difference between a recession
and a depression. A recession is going on when somebody you know loses his
or her job. A depression is when you lose your job.
Most of us in Radiation Oncology still have jobs, but unfortunately our
government took advantage of the distraction of the media by the War on
to reduce our Medicare reimbursements by a range of 5 to 9 per cent. Unheralded
individuals in our specialty had worked very hard coming to an understanding
with HCFA but apparently this didn't apply to CMS
(Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). I hope this means that if
I change my name I also won't be responsible for any previous relationships.
I also don't know enough about economics to understand the fine points
of resolving the 1991-redux problem of rescuing the economy while trying
to carry out a major military action, but I'm honored to have been part
of the solution. It appears that in addition to the traditional approaches
of expanding government services and benefits (favored by the Democrats),
versus cutting taxes to let the private sector do the job (favored by the
has been added the third option of reducing reimbursement for radiation
oncology (favored by the Taliban).
I don't want to seem ungrateful for the opportunity to contribute to our
country, but I would hope that those in charge would look around for other
sources of revenue as well. I'm sure this will eventually have a silver
lining, but I can't help but call attention to the mink
lining for which television icon Star
Jones paid $20,000 to have put into a $39.95 jean jacket she had bought
Bryant. Only three conclusions can be drawn from this:
- It's illegal to remove a tag from a pillow, but it's not illegal to
mutilate a Lane Bryant jean jacket,
- PETA missed the story
- Maybe physicians
shouldn't be considered the only profession to have too much money.