Stereotyping from the AMA by Pat Conrad MD

This showed up in the mailbox last week, and I thought it was hilarious, in a head-shaking, damn-this-is-ridiculous sort of way.  Inside one learns that Mercedes-Benz “will contact the AMA for membership verification”, after which appropriate program forms and control numbers are generated to present to the local dealer to get an “applicable incentive” for purchase or lease.
Yes I know that other auto companies have offered similar inducements, and no, I’m not dumping on either capitalism in general, nor Mercedes in specific.  I do find it rather unfortunate that the millionaire doctor stereotype is reinforced yet again, a stereotype too often inferred by helpful attorneys and class warrior politicians seeking to inflame the envious and aggrieved.  But what really caught my eye is the good ol’ AMA emblem on the cover.  So the AMA is out to help get me a good deal on a fancy car?  Thanks, but I’ll keep my pickup truck (just try hauling a Christmas tree in the back of a loaded coupe – good luck getting the sap off the leather).
If the AMA was worth even a damn, they would not worry about luxury car discounts for members who are clearly busy screwing themselves into even more regulation, more interference, declining revenues, and – from the looks of the brochure prices – even worse debt..  This is the real face of the AMA – fiddling around the edges, ignoring the hard questions, and taking you for a sweet ride.


Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  8 comments for “Stereotyping from the AMA by Pat Conrad MD

  1. Joseph Py, DO
    December 13, 2013 at 10:10 am

    I am not, (nor do I plan on ever being), a member of the AMA. I do agree, however, that the AMA’s priorities may need to be reexamined. For instance, what does the AMA have against Maserati?

  2. Randy B
    December 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    I would have to disagree with you all. See the following link or search for From Mortarboards to Millionaires.

    I know more MD couples, staying together and never divorcing, with just 1 or 2 kids. While medical education is expensive, these couples don’t live in the middle or even upper middle class sections where we do. Money is going somewhere. In addition 30% is the figure I last saw for people in medical school “coming from a medical family”.

    If you had a regular first generation/no relatives to put someone through medical school, and the wife stayed at home with kids, yes that would be different. Even so, people who have mortgages in the $200-300K range and husband/wife making $60K a year, are able to make it and afford better stuff than I get. Even a couple making $125-150K a year I know, was able to afford a nice condo, 2 kids, paying for extras like golf lessons, all sorts of private education for the kids, trips to foreign countries and all.

    So maybe you all could explain the situations a little better. We all see that docs no longer live in the same sections we middle class do, the one garage for the hospital workers are filled with cars we can’t afford (and we make an upper middle class salary) and the kids are getting expensive schooling, etc.


  3. Bridget Reidy
    December 9, 2013 at 1:06 am

    My used Mercedes at 13,000 was the most economical car I owned and it probably would have lasted a long time but I had to get rid of it because of the millionaire stereotype.
    And yes, houses and pensions are wealth, and so is a million in houses and pensions.
    We shouldn’t complain about our income while there are so many docs out there who will do whatever to make a buck, like 99213’s and 99214’s for colds, or even billing them correctly but using antibiotics so they come back cause they pay relatively well even when billed 99212. What we should be complaining about is the unreimbursed work, the amount of data gathering required far above any E and M code to do a visit for multimorbidity, lack of payment for phone calls, care coordination, exercise counseling, combining acute and chronic care… The problem isn’t that we are all underpaid, it is that we are underpaid when we do our jobs as primary doctors right.

  4. JRDO
    December 7, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I like to read Authentic Medicine for it’s gadfly tone about ridiculousness of many aspects of practicing medicine nowadays, however suggesting that docs are millionaires and drive luxury cars is an erroneous stereotype is just not correct. Most doctors do indeed become millionaires and many do drive luxury cars. The doctor’s parking lot at the hospital where I am on staff has plenty of luxury cars including quite a few Merecedes. I think the AMA and Mercedes have got their market research correct. Whether the AMA should be entering into such marketing campaigns is a different question altogether and I am cynical enough to wonder what the AMA executives got out of the deal.

    • Doug Farrago
      December 7, 2013 at 11:31 am

      2008 Saturn and a 2001 Yukon (both over 100,000 miles). I am the wrong type of doctor.

      • Anesthesia Doc
        December 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm

        My 2008 Prius will probably hit 100,000 miles this weekend. I think I’m the right type of doctor, but my ex-husband has all the money I earned.

    • DrBones
      December 7, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      “Most doctors do become millionaires”??? I only wish! Where did I miss out? If I include my house and 401K, yes, but otherwise, no…
      I’m not sure the AMA really has approved this. They got in a heap of trouble from the membership a few years ago when they cross-marketed with Sunbeam.

  5. December 7, 2013 at 9:17 am

    The Mercedes discount rate is higher for members of USAA (current and ex military) than AMA, FYI. Make what you will of that. 🙂

Comments are closed.