Government

Overpaid?

Physician overall average salary for 2019 was $313,000, With the average primary care physician earning $237,000. Specialists earned $341,000 on average based on the Medscape 2019 survey

So, the question is, are physicians too highly paid? A few perhaps in some areas of the country, but on average not in my opinion.

Compare that income say with a college football coach or lower level professional athlete or yikes, a politician.

Or better still, do you think based on hours worked, training, stress levels and more that a primary care physician should earn at least four times that of a kindergarten teacher? Sen Sanders wants all teachers to earn at least $60,000.

M4A, to be close to affordable, must cut physician and hospital payments. There is controversy over whether that means immediately to Medicare levels (30-40% lower) or just something less than now paid by the private sector. Nevertheless, cuts must be made and not without consequences.

So, how much compensation is fair for US physicians?

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9 replies »

  1. My sister worked for a State Farm insurance agent in Dallas, TX for 37 years. She was making $70 K as his office manager with 3 other employees. He made over $300 K per year when they both retired 2.5 years ago. He has a State Farm pension, SS and millions in investments. With just a BA degree and the decision to risk opening an agency in the high inflation era of the late 1970s, building from nothing to one of the highest performing agencies in the Dallas area. I am sure his office made millions for State Farm over the years and provided good paying middle class jobs for 4 people. When you provide excellent service to your customers, you can succeed, where others fail. Doctors overpaid, when compared to others, I do not think so. But I do not think insurance agents are overpaid either. Politicians, every one of them are way overpaid, for hours worked.

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  2. Wonderful article, wrong question! How much do we as a society value our health? It there is market competition in medicine, rates DO come down…examples: Lasik, Plastic surgery, etc. We, as consumers NEED to SEE the rates that are being really charged, and have the CHOICE and the POWER to compare and choose our Docs and Hospitals. To me, if one of my kids is being operated on, I WANT that Surgeon to be very successful, to be among the best of the best college students, and to be very well-paid and happy!

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    • In theory yes. But there is a big difference between services such as you mention which are entirely voluntary and services provided for serious medical problems where the goal of successful care will always trump cost.

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  3. Getting into medical school is more difficult than any other professional school. After four years in medical school a graduate must serve two years as an intern, followed by two years in a residency program. So at age 30 a doctor can start earning “the big bucks.”

    Most doctors have to build up their practice, and are often in their mid-thirties before they are in the median salary range. Overpaid? Given that other very smart and motivated professionals have a ten year head start on doctors, I don’t think so.

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  4. Honestly, there is no way that physician salaries aren’t going to have to come down, by a lot.

    We’d have plenty of doctors in this country if the average doctor earned about $150k per year for about 40-45 hours a week of work. If they work substantially more hours, then they should be compensated.

    Doctors earned reasonable compensation in this country until the introduction of Medicare in the 1960’s. It was only once doctors didn’t have to price their services like salesmen… offering value that exceeded the price, that physician compensation skyrocketed.

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    • Do you really think if teachers were, in fact paid a minimum of $60,000, doctors are worth $150,000? By the way most teacher in NJ are paid $60,000 plus with 1,000 earning $100,000.

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      • Doctors in private practice often have costs like other professionals (think lawyers, accountants, etc) that teachers do not have. These professionals have to save for 100% of their own retirement, pay 100% for their own medical insurance, buy malpractice insurance, and often have to hire staff and rent space. The trend in my area is that the hospital bought up all the practices because the doctors could not afford all these things the teachers get. I would also think that the student loans will be about 10x that of a teacher. If we do not pay doctors what they are worth, we will not have any doctors or at least American made doctors.

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  5. A teaching degree at a public college costs about $40k. A medical degree costs a doctor over $400k and a decade of his life. Maybe the doctor should be paid more if teachers get paid more than 1x the cost of their degree? That would be a bitter pill.

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