Doctor Pay Too High?

I just received this press release and suspect the original study will get a fair amount of attention. While the original research article in Health Affairs requires a subscription, the press release tells most of the story. I encourage our readers to have a look at it. To be clear, I am neither promoting nor criticizing the original research. For now my response is “no comment”.


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6 Responses to “Doctor Pay Too High?”

  1. Karen Monaghan says:

    Then how is my daughter going to pay back the $300,000 she has already had to borrow for med school and living expenses (in addition to what we have given her)? Good luck getting people to go into medicine if they aren’t able to make a decent living from their practices.

    • jonmcrawford says:

      What kind of physician will she be? If she’s an ortho, then I suggest cash. “US orthopedic surgeons earned the highest average annual incomes at $442,450”

      Different definitions of “decent living” floating around.

  2. I’m no expert in this field and I generally stay out of financial discussions, but on the face of it this press release seems to be barking up the wrong tree.

    “physicians in the United States are paid more per service than doctors in other countries…”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but that seems to be totally focused on tweaking today’s fee-for-service system, which (everywhere I go) seems to be acknowledged as the source of perverse incentives: docs get paid for doing more services, not for keeping people healthy.

    The press release talks about whether people are getting paid the right amount for DOING those services. Personally, I love the docs who saved me, and don’t mind at all if each of them is driving the car of their dreams.

    And what about Denmark, which since the World Health Organization’s famous report about population health (ca. 1999) has gone from 157 hospitals to 25, without a reduction in health? Seems to me THAT is where the cost cutting opportunity is.

    Bottom line: let’s focus on how much docs get paid to keep people WELL, not on what they get paid to do services when that fails!

  3. Matt Katz, MD says:

    I think it’s a highly complex issue. For a partisan but well-stated pro-doctor opinion, see Mike Royko (1993) :

    Ultimately pay should represent a fair return of the value doctors add for their patients and society, along with recognition of the costs (time, $, emotional, work-life balance) necessary to pursue a career in medicine.

  4. Oksana says:

    I savour, lead to I discovered exactly what I was having a look for.

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