Quoted from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/24/AR2007072401850.html:
As Doctors Lose Income and Autonomy, Their Advocate Fights the Wrong Battles
By Regina E. Herzlinger
America's physicians are the most trusted and valuable resources in our health-care system. Yet doctors' professionalism and incomes have taken a terrible beating recently. The American Medical Association, which received $286 million in revenue last year to protect the profession, has served physicians poorly.
Physician incomes, when adjusted for inflation, declined 7 percent from 1995 to 2003, while those of professional and technical workers rose. But unlike other professionals -- lawyers, architects, authors and economists -- doctors' work is dictated by the policies of insurers and governments. Increasingly, independent physicians, accountable only to their patients and the Hippocratic oath, have been replaced by salaried doctors who are accountable to the hospitals or insurers that employ them. Salaried physicians are closely policed for productivity, leading to ever-shorter and more numerous appointments per day.