Skip to comments.Couldn't we fix the health care system by paying doctors less?
Posted on 09/12/2009 2:00:00 PM PDT by eartotheground
President Obama has promised to pay for health care reform mostly by ridding the system of wasteful spending. The message is that reform will be painless: We're cutting the fat, not the meat. But what if your paycheck is part of the fat? More to the point: Does cutting back on wasteful health care spending mean that doctors will make less money?
Actually, let's split that question in two. The first is whether U.S. doctors are overpaid. The second is whether paying them less would save all that much. The answers, respectively: yes and no.
There's no question that doctors in the United States make a lot of money, especially compared with their counterparts abroad. American doctors make, on average, four times what French doctors earn. And it's not just because everyone in America makes more money: The gap between doctors' incomes and those of professionals is far bigger in the United States than elsewhere. In the 1990s, the ratio of the average American doctor's income to the average American employee's income was about 5.5. In Germany, it was 3.4; Canada, 3.2; Australia, 2.2; Switzerland, 2.1; France, 1.9; Sweden, 1.5; the United Kingdom, 1.4.
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
Anyway, in spite of the understandable temptation to do otherwise, he saves your miserable life. Now, is he still overpaid?
Maybe "journalists" are overpaid. Surgeons have to be right 100% of the time, you guys just have to be close once in a while perhaps.
Don't worry tho, all those "overpaid" physicians are out looking for an exit strategy right now. So if you're going to get sick, better do it soon before all the smart doctors are gone.
I don’t want the GOVERNMENT determining anyone’s income that is working for it.
You get what you pay for.
Me? I want any and every doctor who looks at me, much less operates on me, to live like a Persian King.
Sure. Why not force them to work for free?
Can’t we fix the MSM corruption problem by paying them less?
Why the Democrats just raised the minimum wage! That should be good enough for all the new doctors under ObamaCare!
If you cut out health care for illegals, the doctors income will be reduced, because their billing of the tax payers will stop.
Thanks, eartotheground. I like the idea of exposing journalists to the same kinds of liability to which doctors are exposed. I have a few suits I could bring right away. Then we’ll see how journalists feel about tort reform.
“Couldn’t we fix the health care system by paying doctors less?”
Profits are evil.
I totally agree. The amount of money it takes to educate these people is unreal. I also know GP’s that make less than $50K.....that’s after paying thousands in insurance to cover crazy law suits. I’ve told my doctor to never worry about me suing him. He’s a great guy and if he makes a mistake, it’s a mistake, nothing more.
How about we fix the health care system by paying lawyers less.
That’s one of the ways the soviets kept costs down. Worked wonders. LOL
Do you feel lucky, punk?
Well, DO YA?
And many doctors are small business owners of their own medical practice, or partner with other doctors in one.
Just like lawyers... but I don’t hear anyone in DC threatening to control how much money lawyers and law firms can make.
Good one - I’m still not sure that’s graphic enough for “Chris” to get through his thick head! BTW Chris, in the future, the ambulance driver will also be the one doing your surgery. Let us know how that works out for ya.
Yes Chris...American Doctors are overpaid....let’s reduce their compensation and after you get your ass kicked senseless, you can trot on down to the local ER where Dr.Faheem El Jabar Mohammed Zaid, recently express-visa’d in from Afghanistan can treat your extensive wounds.
Try Tort reform and eliminating Government interference. The free market will take care of the rest.
Start by paying the ambulance chasing LAWYERS LESS!!!!
Gee Chris you left out what are the doctors in Kenya paid.I cant believe your that dumb oh wait your a journalists. Never mind.
Unlike career politicians and journalists, doctors perform a valuable service to the world.
Ask the average person who they trust more: The media, the government, or their doctor...
This guy doesn’t “get it”. Doctors have huge malpractice premiums that they have to pay to protect themselves from Barack’s BIG lawyer donor base.
News anchors and editors are overpaid...
“Don’t worry tho, all those “overpaid” physicians are out looking for an exit strategy right now. So if you’re going to get sick, better do it soon before all the smart doctors are gone.”
People have little idea what’s involved in medical training or being a physician. Why spend most of your youth training for a job that pays you 1.4 times the average worker, like this guy says they do in the UK. Actually, the numbers he’s using do not give an accurate picture since they probably reflect only national health service pay, not including the substantially more money made seeing private patients on the side. Physicians can double or triple their income seeing private patients in these countries. A friend I trained with is making ~1 million dollars a year in a European country. As a physician in the US I make a small fraction of that. I consider it a blessing and a privilege to practice medicine, but I also have to pay the bills. Most of us have had to consider exit strategies.
The author deserves the moron of the millenium award.
As many segments of our society (esp. those in sports and entertainment) are paid gazillions, he wants those with the highest level of responsiblity, intelligence and education to take a pay cut?
Sure, that’ll work!
Depends upon what the politicians definition of wasteful spending is....that's the biggest problem with government takeover of anything.
Christopher Beam, couldn't we fix journalism by paying 'journalist' less?
Or the govt by not paying Congress and eliminating lobbyist money? Does that make sense to you, Chris?
Here are some of my ideas.
Tort reform-which would solve all kinds of trouble, not just the health care stuff
Enabling purchasing of coverage across state lines-more competition=lower prices
Boutique health care=again more competition-lower prices
More places like the urgent care kiosks in some WalMarts that are run by nurse practitioners
Let the so-called free market work to fix this.
There is way too much regulation of everything to be throwing around words like free market.
It hasn’t been truly free in decades.
There are about 750,000 doctors in the US. If HR 3200 passes, or if their pay were to be cut by this stupid idea, you’d see 150-200 THOUSAND docs retire.
So YES. Let’s reduce the number of docs from 750K to 550K AND add 30 Million (Pres. Obama’s new number) more patients. No sir. No rationing here. Nothing to see.
Idiots. The Law of supply and demand cannot and will not be repealed by Congress. If even they really really, truly truly, for sure, want to do so.
Follow the Chrysler model for starters: Force all the Republican and Independent MDs out of practice, then force the remaining Democrat MDs to engage in ‘volunteer community service’ 20 hours a month, and, then in return, for the ‘privilege’ of working indoors in a publicly necessary institution (a hospital), pay them a ‘minimum’ professional wage a little higher than average to ensure some degree of dedication. Of course, cadres of politically correct compliance should monitor every minute of the professional day to ensure improved, continual compliance with continually adapted operational changes and performance criteria. The patients will be assured that the best is, what is, and, that any complaints from them will be viewed as competing with governments own assessments, being unpatriotic, and will be punished for comprising heretical dissonance.
We could save billions by not paying the lawyers so much.
Well said. I’ll pitch in my two cents worth:
For the reasons you stated as well as many others, this is one of the stupidest, ignorant, moronic, azzinine, and worthless “ideas” I’ve read in a long time. Even zero isn’t this daft. Yet.
Don’t forget the hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans the physician is paying off.
When folks start talking about doctors being forced to take less compensation, I wonder how many people would go through what they do to make five eight minimum wage. I sure as well wouldn’t.
If I spent about 22 years being educated and trained, I’d want considerably more out of it than $50k per year.
This is just another example of the communist mindset. Everyone should make ‘X’ dollars and be totally equal. Who cares if person ‘B’ didn’t apply themselves and person ‘A’ did.
What a moronic mindset.
My mindset when it happened to me (9 years ago now) and I was almost left for dead via organ shutdown, I didn't worry that the thoracic surgeon made $130,000 for 8 hours of work to save my life.
He did a good job, knew what he was doing, and earned every damn penny of it!
Even though I showed shut down organs at the time, I am as healthy as can be ten years after.
Only in a free America can this be possible.
Oh yes he is. When he talks about the health care industry having to make do with less reimbursement, this is exactly what he’s talking about. “Those physicians who take out tonsils and amputate legs are just greedy.” And Obama, BTW, physicians don’t take out tonsils anymore you nincompoop.
As the wife of a specialist( I am also a nurse), I get real irritated at the push for primary care physicians.
Medicine requires a great deal of knowledge, and PCPs cannot know everything about every disease.
It is like having a handyman fix the electrical wiring in your house, instead of an electrician.
PCPs are good for the basic stuff, and can tell if a patient has a medical problem that needs intervention.
But usually, patients get referred to the specialist to get the definitive treatment- especially in cancer, cardiac, orthopedic, nephrology, etc. care.
Not to say PCPs are not needed, but specialists usually have 4-5 more years of training, and need to be compensated for that.
PCPs also no longer take call from the hospitals. They have given up that role to the intensivists. PCPs work 9-5.
My husband is up all night in the hospital putting people back together again.
This push to primary care will worsen our healthcare. The HMOs tried it in the early 1980s- and people complained about their health care.
Specialty care costs more as specialists have more tricks up their sleeves. The government wants cheap care.
My friends who are also specialists predict if Obamacare passes- within 5 years there will be a significant physician shortage. Physicians ( who are mostly baby boomers) will retire in disgust.
doctors already are underpaid through Medicare so to cover expenses of running office/equipment/malpractice/student loans they charge way more for private patients. so the government’s interference has helped create this two-tier situation. more and more of them will refuse Medicare patients, go totally private and aggravate an already bad doctor shortage.
Somebody has to pay for the educated talent.
Take it away from the doctors, there are fewer and poorer doctors.
Take it away from the universities who teach the doctors and there are fewer professors.
Pay them all appropriately and let the victim of health pay for it for the rest of their lives if they haven't planned on the worst of times to hit them personally.
Personal freedom dictates that the individual make the decision.
Sadly enough personal freedom is rapidly becoming a thought from the past any more.
NOTE TO CHRIS! If they accept Medicare and Medicaid, thus giving aid to those on these govt. programs, they necessarily bill the taxpayers. The first line of defense in cutting costs has ALWAYS been cutting drs, hospitals, all med services remuneration, and it is now being proposed again.
Our son in law's clinic has not been reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid for June, July, and August. Hey Chris, how about helping the dinosaur media by going without YOUR pay for 3 months.
How about Congress going without their pay for three months to help the deficit. Our son-in-law worked and studied until he was 33 to keep improving his medical skills. He attends 3 to 4 working conferences a year to keep up--real, all day work, not partying conferences. He is very good at what he does, and he deserves to make a good living without being browbeaten by Obama's minions and followers.
Chris and like minded people do not deserve expert health care.
No Obamacare! No way! No time!
Lenin said in 1920 when Russia nationalized health care that for a state to control its citizens it had to control healthcare.
What in hell is the matter with these idiots that think giving Obama's goons a chance to control all our lives is a GOOD thing. It is an invitation to rationing, selective access, graft, corruption, higher cost, and much lower success rate.
Yes, it will, that is something the AMA has fought for years.
Well said, eartotheground, I’ll only add that Chris is an idiot.
Which we all agree with.
Is this guy joking?
I work with physicians (medical malpractice) and let me tell you FOR CERTAIN they are ready to bail, as in retire/quit, if this Obama nightmare happens.
They are telling anyone who asks that your future “medical provider” WILL be a nurse practitioner or a physicians assistant.
You can’t add 30,000,000 to a system that already has a physician shortage. What a disaster this will be.
Can tell you,as a GP doctor, that in France doctors are underpaid and there is a big shortage of doctors worsening as a result....
You should not try
The dems could reinstate the draft and pick all the doctors. Give them military salaries. Same for journalists.
Recently I’ve spoken with several medical students. When they graduate they often have accumulated debt of 100- to 200 thousand dollars (sometimes more) for all their years in medical school. Perhaps the universities ( vastly run by liberals) are charging way too much for tuition-—nobody in the LSM seems to address that fact.
Yes they are. So are hospitals. That’s why it’s so absurd for Obama to claim the government won’t short change them, and thereby us. They’re already doing it, and have been for decades now.
Good grief they probably would if they could.
That plan has probably been written up already.
GREAT post! BRAVO!
I always thought that the "deadly" in the term "seven deadly sins" was an exaggeration. I was wrong.
This simple-minded Christopher Beam is a perfect demonstration of how envy -- one of the Seven Deadly -- indeed leads to death and dying.
Making envy a culturally permissable guide of action is killing this nation.