The House version of ObamaCare plans to levy a surtax on individuals earning the highest incomes in America to defray the costs of “reform”.  Who would those people be?  The Bureau of Labor Statistics has data from May 2008 available on its site on mean incomes of all professions in the US, fortunately downloadable in spreadsheet form.  After entertainers and athletes, which professions earn the highest mean annual salaries — and will likely have to contribute most to the surtax?  Here are the top 15:

  1. Surgeons
  2. Anesthesiologists
  3. Orthodontists
  4. Obstetricians and gynecologists
  5. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
  6. Internists, general
  7. Prosthodontists
  8. Physicians and surgeons, all other
  9. Family and general practitioners
  10. Chief executives
  11. Dentists, general
  12. Psychiatrists
  13. Pediatricians, general
  14. Dentists, all other specialists
  15. Podiatrists

Notice a pattern here?  Fourteen of the top 15 positions (again, after entertainers and athletes, for which the BLS gives no mean annual income) come from the health-care field.  Only CEOs break the pattern, coming in at #10, which might surprise some class-warriors. Lawyers come in at #16, by the way.

Now, this data may make some people say, “Well, great!  Doctors make too much money anyway!”  However, this also shows that we have a system that compensates the actual providers of health care at a rate which keeps supply at a point where we don’t have to worry about waiting a year for a surgery we need or whether a dentist even works anywhere near where we live.  Penalizing the actual providers of medical care means less incentive for the straight-A students to enter the field, which will curtail supply at a point where demand will skyrocket, thanks to the suddenly cost-free basis for people to seek it.  That’s exactly the trap into which other single-payer systems have fallen.

Besides, the argument for both health-care reform and the surtax is to supposedly break the bank of those eeeeeevil insurance companies that make all of that money, right?  It looks like the entire premise is flawed — which the profit performance of health insurers as a group already attests.  (Thanks to HA reader Michael Velez for pointing this out.)