Do U.S. Physicians Make Too Much Money?

In September of 2011, Laugesen and colleagues looked at why health care in the US costs so much. Part of their analysis explored primary care physician fees. It showed that primary care docs in the US make a bit more, per office visit, than their colleagues in 5 other countries. But Americans are much less likely to have an appointment with their primary care doctors.

In other words: we can’t blame the cost of US health care on expensive primary care doctors scheduling a bunch of unnecessary visits.

Laugesen also looked at orthopedic surgery in the 5 countries.  Once again, the cost of American health care can NOT be blamed on the volume of procedures we do here.  Instead, it is the amount of money we charge for those procedures!

And the bottom line, for these physicians, is predictable, as shown in these income figures:

This raises a huge challenge.  If we want to control medical expenses in the US, we need to do lots of things. But among them, we need to tackle physician pay, especially procedural-subspecialty physician pay. Good luck going against those interest groups! (Click here to view comments)

 

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