At Work

What do physicians earn?

The following represent averages and include both employed and physicians in private practice. [For a frame of reference below are the salaries of our top politicians.] ⬇️

Source: Medscape 2015 survey


Government salaries:

President: $400,000 + $50,000 expense allowance
Vice-President: $230,000
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: $258,100
Speaker of the House: $223,500
Members of Congress: $174,000

And no, none of the above receive their salary for life🙄 [correction, for a good reason justices of the Supreme Court retire at full-pay if they meet certain age and service requirements. This is done to encourage them to retire -1869 law]

Is anyone over paid? If so, who?


8 replies »

  1. Many in this country are overpaid. When you look at average incomes that families live on. That is why more and more do not have money for college, healthcare, retirement. Most maintain the illusion of a middle class standard of living with credit. This was not the case 40-50 years ago. Record corporate profits, record low wages for the majority of workers. Why do we say that the burger flipper or the guy mowing our lawn should be paid less, because it is a low skill job?. They are providing a service, working their 30 hours or more, but who cares if they have to go on welfare.

    The lowest earner in you chart is still making 3 times, the highest earner 8 times, the average family income. So, these are going to be the ones that are taxed more in the future to pay for government programs, because of lower pay for the bottom 50 percent.


    • Forty or fifty years ago people did not routinely live beyond their means or spend their money on crap. Look for an upcoming post on this topic. In short, if the middle class is struggling; living paycheck to paycheck as we are told, who is spending the money on all parts of the economy that are not necessities?

      And also this is a different world and heavily connected. You can’t have low prices without China, etc. And putting pressure on corporate earnings has a negative impact on all investments including pension plans, 401k plans and all equity based investments. Easy answers going after one piece of the economic pie are what the left likes, but they ignore the consequences in the real world.


    • Exactly what is overpaid? Find me one person who does not think they are underpaid. The pay of 500 CEOs (65% of which is not cash) has no impact on the pay of a couple of hundred million other Americans. When there is competition for workers and Americans are willing to accept higher prices, wages will rise. When did a person doing the same job year after year receive pay increases greater than the rate of inflation?


  2. Regarding the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, who it is stated, is not eligible for a life time salary, I provide this from wikipedia regarding “senior status” of U.S. federal judges:

    “Senior status is a form of semi-retirement for United States federal judges, and judges in some state court systems. A judge must be at least 65 years of age and have served in federal courts for 15 years to qualify, with one fewer year of service required for each additional year of age. When that happens, they receive the full salary of a judge but have the option to take a reduced caseload, although many senior judges choose to continue to work full-time.”

    There are hundreds of U.S. federal judges in senior status receiving full salary. Some have chosen to handle significant case-loads. Many of the cases are in other judicial districts other than the one they live in, and they are then eligible for full per diem travel and living expenses while they are engaged in the case. Many judges travel the country three or four times of year on full salary, with paid living expenses.

    Some other federal judges on senior status do virtually no work at all. At full salary of course.


  3. Comparing the salaries of physicians to politicians makes little sense but it is easy to do, thus we get not what is useful but easy to report.

    A useful comparison would be comparing physicians salaries to other professions requiring high caliber post-graduate education from institutions with very high selectivity. Let’s start with graduates from the top fifty law schools, followed by graduates of the top fifty MBA schools, followed by the graduates of the top schools in computer science.

    That would entail some work, and thus will not appear on this blog.


  4. Not at all, in fact the point of the article is that neither physicians nor politicians are over paid as long as they are doing their job well. Physicians in the US are, however, paid quite a bit more than in most other countries. Frankly I was expecting people to criticize politicians and defend doctors.

    There is one point to criticize though, many doctors offices are quite inefficient in their operations and systems and a lot of money could be saved.


  5. This article seems to want to vilify physicians for making too much money. But let’s look at this. Doctors start their “earning career” about 8-10 years later and for some specialties longer than that compared to your average high school graduate. That is a decade of lost earnings for the doctor. Then there is the sky-high cost of medical school and the student loans; they work early morning rounds, nights and Saturday office hours which is much more than the standard 40 hour workweek. Then there is the cost of malpractice insurance that is often paid by the doctors directly and they have to provide their own savings for retirement and pay for college for their own kids because they make too much money to get government help.

    This fall I went to a specialist and was billed $150 for a 15 minute visit with the doctor. Of course my insurance did not pay $150. But that $150 charge was to cover the doctor, the receptionist, the nurse, the billing clerk on my exit, medical supplies, office paper, pay for the building, the IT computer support, accountants, etc…

    My wife used to work at cardiologist office and a young doctor actually had to work two jobs to pay his bills. With the changes in how medical care is provided in this country, a hospital bought the practice. They sold out because the doctors could not afford to manage nor had the expertise to manage all of the non-patient costs, that is billing, IT, records requirements, malpractice coverage, employee benefits etc.. They even had hired an office manager with an MBA to control cost but the Medicare reimbursements were so low they had to find other ways to cut cost.

    Now comparing their salaries to politicians is not fair either. The reasons for employment are totally different. People who spend millions of dollars of other people’s money to get elected just to spend everybody else’s tax money, they obviously do not care what they get paid and accept the low salaries and in a lot of cases are already millionaires running for office.

    Besides, if everybody were smart enough to be a doctor, they would be paid minimum wage.


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