How much do you value your doctor?

Is your doctor worth in value delivered more than the guy scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins or salting fries at McDonalds? Okay, how much more; five, ten, twenty times? 

While we obsess over twenty somethings having a livable wage via a minimum hourly rate, we lose site of the relative value of that wage. 

Let’s take your child’s or grandchild’s pediatrician. The average pediatrician earns $204,000 a year in the US. A family physician $207,000; a good income, not great and not wealthy in my book. 

Last year 57% of physicians spent between 30-45 hours a week seeing patients and 34% spent 46 or more hours. Add to patient hours the average ten or more hours spent on paperwork and administration plus miscellaneous activities associated with running a practice and you have a hefty work schedule of nearly 60 hours for many physicians. [Source of numbers: Medscape 2016 physician compensation survey.]

Assuming two weeks of unpaid vacation, your average pediatrician earns roughly $68 an hour. That is 4.5 times the proposed $15.00 minimum. Today this physician earns 9.4 times the federal minimum wage. Are we willing to raise the average income for pediatricians to $423,000 … without complaining about health care costs?🤑

Does your doctor’s value decline by 50% when we raise the value of low skill jobs? Given the education, skill, ongoing training and commitment, how many times the minimum wage should we pay our lowest earning doctors? 

This isn’t an argument against the minimum wage, it is an argument for a full understanding of how everything is connected and for understanding the consequences of messing with market forces simply because politicians grab hold of an issue that appears sympathetic and simple.  


1 reply »

  1. I think you have to look at a physician lifetime earnings. By this I mean that they started their career 8-12 years after high school, put out in excess of $250K for school, and pay malpractice insurance. Do they deserve such a high multiple of a wage, yes. Are they really netting such a multiple of a wage if they paid their own way now?

    I don’t want doctors to get large raises to keep there status above minimum wage as a payeer of medical services but the hassle of being a doctor is going to reach a point where people are not wanting to do it. Then how much will you pay just to find a doctor?

    I am at the point of my career that flipping burgers at $15hr with no responsibility is starting to look very appealing and can just imagine what doctors are starting to think.

    Liked by 1 person

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