Wednesday, April 27, 2011
House Votes to Repeal "Physician’s Oyster and Wine Takeaway" (POWT)
The despicable POWT Act has forced Massachusetts physicians to pay for their own dinners at restaurants such as Davio’s, where an average entrée is 30 to 40 bucks, a chunk of change that our doctors simply cannot afford. Davio’s owner Steve DeFillipo has been on the forefront of anti-POWT lobbying efforts. In fact, he appeared on the Emily Rooney Show last year to debate the repeal effort with a local psychiatrist/blogger (see that blogger's coverage here).
Simply put, physicians need this food subsidy, because in Massachusetts, the median physician income is a paltry $216,700, according to the Massachusetts Medical Society. This is only 7 times the median Massachusetts income of $30,751. Those who say that doctors are “10 times richer” than other people are engaging in ridiculous hyperbole.
The fact is, your doctor is hungry and shouldn’t have to pay for his own meal after having gone through medical school and residency. You try getting paged at 3 AM and to put an NG tube through someone’s nostrils. These are punishing experiences and doctors deserve special compensation.
Furthermore, as the Massachusetts Restaurant Association has pointed out so eloquently,
"Restaurants provide much-needed seclusion from the everyday demands and distractions of the workplace. Medical practitioners and physicians are particularly taxed by time constraints and conflicting responsibilities."
Yes, commoners escape workplace demands by going home at 5 or by taking a stroll through a park during lunch. But doctors need raw oysters and wine after a hard day of work—plenty of it, free, and with fawning pharmaceutical reps complimenting them on their knowledge of vintages.
Hopefully the State Senate will realize that Massachusetts doctors have stronger ethical compasses than Massachusetts politicians, who since 2009 have been barred from receiving anything of value from lobbyists. Lawmakers are, indeed, vulnerable to inappropriate influence from meals and other gifts. But physicians would never prescribe more Abilify after enjoying a steak dinner funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb. After all, they’re doctors!
-CommonHealth Blog (WBUR)
-Health Care For All
at 3:43 PM