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Seriously? Doctors say they're underpaid
May 1st, 2012
10:55 AM ET

Seriously? Doctors say they're underpaid

Anthony Youn, M.D., is a plastic surgeon in metro Detroit. He is the author of “In Stitches,” a humorous memoir about growing up Asian American and becoming a doctor.

Full disclosure: I have no complaints about how much I make.

But many other physicians are not as satisfied - a recent study by Medscape revealed that 49% of doctors believe they're not fairly compensated. Of primary care physicians, this percentage increases to 54%.

It’s no myth that doctors are some of the highest paid professionals in the country. So why are they complaining?

It’s likely because of situations like Dr. Peterson’s.

Dr. Peterson is a plastic surgeon whom I worked with during my residency. A kind, competent physician, his new, fledgling practice consisted of reconstructive surgery. He treated women with breast cancer, paraplegics with pressure sores, and burn patients.

I was the on-call plastic surgery resident one night when a 42-year-old man - let’s call him Dave - was brought into the hospital at 3 a.m. He had fallen off a roof while intoxicated. Dave broke several bones in his face and shattered his lower leg.

I stumbled out of bed and met Dr. Peterson in the ER, where we spent the next three hours assessing Dave’s injuries and repairing his lacerations. Five days later Dr. Peterson and I performed an eight-hour operation, reconstructing his broken facial bones and performing a muscle transfer to help heal his fractured legs. For the next two months, we visited Dave in the hospital each and every day, changing his bandages and making sure he healed properly.

Not once did Dave thank Dr. Peterson for his care.

Instead, Dave took more than $3,000 from him.

Close scrutiny

Quite possibly no other occupation in the country receives such attention regarding the income its members receive. And that’s not a new trend - more than 70% of respondents of a survey published in the 1985 American Journal of Public Health believed doctors were overpaid.

The Medscape survey found the average physician compensation now ranges from a high of $315,000 for orthopedic surgeons to a low of $156,000 for pediatricians. Sounds pretty good right?

Consider that physicians must complete at least four years of college, four years of medical school, and between three to eight years of residency training prior to becoming a real, practicing doctor. Many physicians don’t start earning “doctor-level” salaries until they are well into their 30s.

A 2009 survey by U.S. News found the typical medical student graduated with $141,132 in debt. The graduates of some schools averaged more than $200,000 in loans.
So how do doctors’ salaries compare with other well-paying professions?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average computer and information system manager earns $125,660 per year. The average lawyer makes $130,490 per year. Orthodontists take home $204,670. The New York Times recently reported the average base pay for managing directors at Morgan Stanley is $400,000. At Goldman Sachs, it’s $600,000. The average salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million. NBA players average $5.15 million per year.

Just for putting a ball in a hoop.

When you consider these numbers, the thought of pediatricians making $156,000 a year doesn’t seem unreasonable. They often see 50 patients per day, answer our calls at all hours, and keep our kids healthy.

What about critical care physicians? They average $240,000 a year, but are responsible for keeping the sickest of us alive. One-quarter of critical care physicians spend more than 65 hours per week with their patients, not including time doing paperwork.

Unlike most other professions, there is a ceiling to what most doctors can earn. Physician compensation is tightly controlled by the government and insurance companies. Medicine is also the only profession where its members are required to sometimes work for free.

No return on investment

Which brings us back to Dave.

Three months later, I accompanied Dr. Peterson in his clinic to see Dave for a follow-up appointment. Dr. Peterson seemed a bit distracted. At the end of the visit I found out why.

“I’m glad you’re doing so well, Dave,” said Dr. Peterson.

“Yeah, I’m really happy with how things have turned out,” he replied.

“So Dave, this is a little awkward for me, but I need to ask you something. Two weeks ago your insurance company sent you a check for $3,200 to forward to me for all my surgical and office fees.”

“Yeah, so?”

“Well, um,” Dr. Peterson stuttered. “We never received it from you.”

“No, you didn’t. I cashed it and spent it.”

“Dave, why would you do that?”

“I figured you’re a rich doctor. I need the money more than you.”

What do you think? Are doctors being underpaid? Tell us in the comments below.


soundoff (2,191 Responses)
  1. Sandman01DE

    We are a nation of mixed up priorities. I know a few doctors anxious to get out of the profession because of the beaurocracy and interference from insurance companies and now Obamacare. I don't begrudge them their pay, and I wish more people went to med school than law school for instance. A lot of that money you pay to a doctor goes to insurance and overhead, and some of the comments here discount the sacrifice of putting off earning a living until you are in your mid 30's. Supply and demand should attract people to the medical field if they are overpaid. Tried to get an appointment with a specialist lately?

    May 1, 2012 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • imzzzz

      I say they are underpaid. It is the lawyers that have caused all the trouble. The lawsuits, malpractice, and dealing with insurance companies eat all the time out of the average doctor's day–so no, they are not overpaid, considering they have the LONGEST education curve. Lawyers do not go to school that long and endure residency.

      May 1, 2012 at 14:53 | Report abuse |
    • ehomer

      They don't put off earning a living til their mid 30's. They are paid during residencies & internships. They make more later but they make decent money as soon as they graduate unlike many Phd's who spend a lot longer in school.

      May 1, 2012 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
    • Doug Z

      You are right Sandman on some parts of the healthcare system. But, this system is not based on supply and demand. It is a convoluted system patched together to basically satisfy two major points in our society:
      1) Emergency care whenever and wherever is needed(I support this)
      2) So you wouldn't go bankrupt when something catastrophic health-wise happens to you.

      If we only require insurance on these two items and let the rest up to market forces, then we might be better off just a little bit.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
    • Jack OShyte

      Both the insurance industry and the pharmaceuticals industry have huge influence over the medical profession. But do MDs complain? No. They cover for these industries. But now, some of them have the voice to complain about national health care. Let them go to Canada or Australia and see how they like it there. This profession that buries its mistakes should be ashamed of itself.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well said Sandman.

      Ehomer, I’m not sure where you are getting your information from but mine is first and you are far off. What little they get paid is often consumed by their debt.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
    • mrs.dr

      ehomer – yes interns, residents and even fellows get paid, but not much. far less than the average doctor's salary. in fact, far less than i did at my first full time job and i had a regular bachelor's degree, not a medical school degree that carried $200k in loans that needed to paid plus whatever undergrad loans they had.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
    • JGladmore

      Sandman,

      While it would be nice if more people went to medical school than law school, the fact is medical schools are limited in the number of students they take. Residency programs are also limited in their capacity and there is already an over supply of medical students to residency programs.

      May 1, 2012 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
  2. tony

    JIm, Im am a police officer, disable vet and a member of vfw. I served nearly ten years in the navy. i appreciate phys. I just believe all people need to live within their means and fight against the ins. cos. in my job, I'm not rich nor do I receive "kick-backs". I just try every day to live within my means and teach my son right from wrong

    May 1, 2012 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You sound like a good guy there Tony and I agree with your message. That people should live within their means. However that’s irrelevant to the topic at hand. How are you disabled and a police officer?

      May 1, 2012 at 15:10 | Report abuse |
  3. Thank you, Doctors

    Doctors are only tools that the hospitals and insurance companies use to make money. Without doctors, there will be no health insurance companies. Without doctors, there will be no hospitals. Without doctors, there will be no nurses. Without doctors, there will be no use of biomedical engineering equipment. Without doctors, there will be no lawyers getting rich. Without doctors, there will be no lives being saved. And the list goes on and on. Let's stop for a minute and show some respect to one of the most charitable and income securing professions in society. Thank you doctors for all your hard work saving lives and for securing income for millions of workers whether directly or indirectly.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LouAZ

      Without sick (real or imagined) PEOPLE there would be NO Doctors !
      Hey, let's hear it for Human Beings !

      May 1, 2012 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
    • Reader

      You said it: they are all part of this monstrouse money making machine called health care!

      May 1, 2012 at 23:12 | Report abuse |
    • Thank you, Doctors

      The whole healthcare system centers around the doctor, who, unfortunately, is allowed to have no control over any part of the "money making" process. Why to blame doctors for the amount of their compensation? They deserve every penny they earn and even more. They study hard, work hard and deserve to be respected. As for the insurance companies and hospital administrators, they are nothing but parasites, sucking the energy and lives of physicians to satisfy their greed.
      I say it again. Thank you, doctors.

      May 2, 2012 at 01:12 | Report abuse |
  4. Jay

    Let's consider a few things here. The medical schoold years, the residency years, etc., every doctor is aware of before taking this path. As far as I am concerned, becoming a doctor is like becoming a teacher, it's not a profession you should go into thinking about how much money you do, or do not earn. Now that's not to say you shouldn't receive a salary that keeps you out of debt and living a comfortable life, but to compare it to those other professions, especially sports salaries, is not a good focus group. Most, if not all of those fields are over paid and if you ask someone that makes 19-22K a year, so are doctors, regardless of how much they had to invest to earn the right to "practice" medicine.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • imzzzz

      I don't think the question is whether they went in to the profession to make money, but are they adequately compensate just the same? The answer is no. These annual incomes are not in the "making money" bracket by any stretch.....

      May 1, 2012 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
    • Cando

      A person making $19-22k a year has no right to speak on any employment topic except underperformance.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
    • KJC

      Average household income in the U.S. is around $60K per year (so if there are two people in a household, they make $30K each). With double to triple that salary for one person, you should be able to cover loans and still be doing just fine.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
    • JGladmore

      Cando,

      In today's economy there are plenty of people making little money who are overqualified for the job they hold and cannot find a new job. It has nothing to do about under-performance sometimes.

      May 1, 2012 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
  5. Me

    People make me sick... Dave was obliglated to give the physician the money. This makes Dave unethical. Doctors make a lot of money... have any of you tried to figure out how much in malpractice insurance they have to pay? How much of that 5160,000 they actually keep? Didn't think so

    May 1, 2012 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ehomer

      A family member is a Dr. (a specialist). She is filthy rich. I mean really rich. She makes more than she should. I know plenty of rich Dr's, not merely well off. Perhaps it should be set up so GP's didn't make so much less, to encourage people into general medicine, the most important branch. Cap the specialties like plastic surgery & cardiology & spread the wealth around. Boob jobs aren't more important than high blood pressure management.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
    • EP Cardiology

      to eHomer: no worries on Cardiology....its been done by most cardiologist going broke and joining employment into hospitals. Rich is relative as it takes over 8 years of training after medical school for some sub-specialty cardiologist. Even at 500-600 thousand a year starting at age 38, it will pay for retirement, loans for 16 yrs of school ( college, med and training). Plus pay for taxes, debt and the spending needed of our own personal income to maintain our profession which is not paid for by an employed hospital. You may find a specialist....but it will not be the one you want and be careful.....

      May 1, 2012 at 15:43 | Report abuse |
  6. medschoolkid

    It seems like so many people have a problem with the salary of doctors. Obviously most of these people don't see the big picture and factor in everything. But if you are so opposed to how much doctors get paid, and think you can find out from google exactly what the doctor will tell you, then by all means boycott doctors. I'm sure you will do just fine with your self prescribed medical care.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Danielle

      And allow me to see fewer patients in a day resulting in more time to be spent with them.

      May 1, 2012 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
    • cocoloco

      Nowadays doctors don't cure a flip! That's the bottom line! That's why they are now being compared to blood and money sucking lawyers! Wake up and try to smell the anesthesia!

      May 1, 2012 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
  7. Codepwned

    The problem is that most of the healthcare costs are generated by administrative *stuff*. The doctors went from receiving the majority to now getting 'just enough' unless they are a surgeon, hospital administrator, own their own practice, or are 'elite'. Rising healthcare costs didn't come from doctors, it came from greedy businessmen who got into healthcare.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • imzzzz

      Amen, and lawyers raising costs because everything must be padded just in case their is a (nother) lawsuit....

      May 1, 2012 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
  8. kyrani99

    I think they are already paid too much especially when there is this http://kyrani99.wordpress.com/

    May 1, 2012 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      You are downright nuts. And you use entirely too many run-on sentences in your blog. Do you have any basis for this crap you post? Like real evidence, not how you feel.

      May 1, 2012 at 14:53 | Report abuse |
    • jim

      thank you for website

      May 1, 2012 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
  9. LouAZ

    To all the Doctors that feel they are underpaid . . . You should change Professions and get into something that can make you some real MONEY . . . like Plumbing !

    May 1, 2012 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cando

      A good plumber working for himself or running a small business can easily make $100k per year is he is willing to apply himself.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
    • KellyP

      LOL!! If you only knew–the doctor I work for says just that–I should have been a plumber! If we are going to adjust salaries can you start with the NFL quarterbacks and not the doctor who potentially could save lives!!

      May 1, 2012 at 15:16 | Report abuse |
    • EP Cardiology

      I put ICD and pacemakers ( DEFIBRILLATORS) into a lot of plumbers after their Heart Attack.......they have good insurance. But we make about the same after loans, debt, education...... they simply started at age 22, me at age 38.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
  10. Med Student

    I haven't read all the comments but I just skimmed many of them. Here's what I think a lot are neglecting to consider. Yes, a lower end doc's salary might be $140 and a higher could be 4-500k and I agree: that is a ton of money! Much more than most people! But what people aren't considering is how much this interest compounds. Grad students have higher loan rates than undergrad, and have access to very few loans that don't start compounding until after graduation. If the average loan after med school graduation is 140k (and that was in 2009, I'm guessing its higher for this year's graduating class) here's the thing: As a resident, you make roughly 45k. Almost everyone has to defer their loans during residency, because how do you pay 140k off of a 45k salary? So that "140k" of loans has been compounding during schooling, and then continues to compound during residency. By the time a doctor is making a doctor salary, their original 140k loan is now MUCH more than that. Yes, if they are smart about it doctors will have enough to get by. They aren't poor. But its a serious misconception these days (as showed in this article) that docs today are rich and can handle not getting paid because of their high salaries.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LouAZ

      Obviously, in all of the schooling Doctors take for years and years and years, not one of them ever takes a Class in Principles of Household Budgeting, or Small Business 101, or ever learn what the definition of the acronym ROI means. But when they hit about 40 years old they realize that they are not gods and must compete for the almighty dollar just like every Insurance Co. or "For Profit" Hospital, or the accounting and Tax procedures of "Non-Profit Hospital". Tsk, Tsk, Tsk . . .

      May 1, 2012 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
  11. macmik

    I think it depends on the situation. Dave was wrong to take the check, cash it, then spend the money but the whole story isn't being told. I find it hard to believe that a surgeon would 'change bandages. I have never had a doctor change a bandage on me. Were the daily visits 2-3 minutes or much longer because he was "changing bandages" and discussing the patient's health with him. If they don't like the hours or the work or lack of thanks then find a different career. You don't go into medicine with closed eyes. Dr. Youn also forgot to mention all the perks Dr. Peterson probably got like conferences in Europe paid for by drug companies, etc. when those companies could do that. How come doctors never bring those things up when they talk about how underpaid they are?

    May 1, 2012 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JS

      The face time a physician spends with a pateint is just the tip of the iceberg in the time spent on taking care of the patient. One has multiple streams of information to review (labs, x-rays, notes, etc.) as well a the beurocratic nonsense one has to pile through on one encounter. As for going to Europe, doctors are not even alowed to take pens from drug companies anymore. The days of pharmacutical companies sharing their profits is long gone.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      He probably was the one changing the bandage only because he wanted to ask him about the $3,000. No problem with that, actually shows respect for the guy not having a nurse or assistant address it.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:40 | Report abuse |
    • KJC

      I have also never heard of an insurance company sending the payment to the member instead of the provider, unless the provide specifically signed off on it. Usually, the hospital submits the claims and gets paid directly, and then they reimburse the member (sick person) for any amount they overpaid. Or if the member (sick person) has already paid the hospital in full, then the hospital can sign off on having the reimbursement sent to the member. If the check was addressed to the member and made out in their name, how was it supposed to go to the doctor? And if the check was made out to the doctor, how did someone other than the doctor cash it? Seems a little odd.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:41 | Report abuse |
  12. Joe M.

    AIZee – How do options traders or attorneys affect your life? Stop complaining and simply be honest with yourself – you're a loser, so you hate successful people.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. D

    Doctors spend a small fortune for their education, and their career comes with hands tied. Doctors aren't to blame for healthcare costs. Insurance and pharma are the culprits. I can't imagine a "Dave" in the world who would pull a stunt like that. I pay for my healthcare, and doctors are more than willing to work with me if there are issues...like cheaper follow-ups, managed payments, that sort of thing.

    Sorry you ran into a person like that Dr. Peterson.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Guy

    I'm in my 4th year of residency, I work the full 80hr work week, I Calculated it out and I make about 9 dollars an hour and have so for the past 4 years. Before I started residency I took out a total of 200000 dollars of loans for med school. Before med school I worked my way through college. I still have one year left. So basically for the past 4 years and for one more year I've been working up patients and assisting in operating on people for 9 dollars an hour and with 200000 dollars worth of loans collecting interest. Please don't say I am over paid when I'm out on my own after a total of 13 years and I want to get something nice after saving some lives and paying off some loans...

    May 1, 2012 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Danielle

      Amen. The interest that is accruing on my loans is so debilitating.

      May 1, 2012 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
    • Alyssa

      You have a lot of student loans to repay, but so what? Why should that be relevant at all to the discussion of what it is fair for a doctor to make? English majors comes out of undergraduate schools with the same debt as engineers, but they certainly don't get paid the same. Your debt is irrelevant to the discussion. Your value to the marketplace is the only relevant data.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • ehomer

      You are pretty full of yourself. You knew what you were getting into & you will reap the payoff. Quit whining.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
    • KJC

      To Alyssa, actually the debt is relevant. English majors are not in high demand, so fewer people will suffer if people stop going to college to study English. But doctors are very much needed. We do not have enough of them. In order to attract people to the profession, they need to be paid an attractive salary which allows them to cover their loans and basic living expenses, or else fewer and fewer people will enter the field. Then we will really be in trouble. If doctors are in high demand, then that field needs to offer a high wage to support the demand.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:45 | Report abuse |
    • EP Cardiology

      Guy keep going...... although your reasoning is correct and you will make less than a teacher after you do the math........I LOVE MY JOB! I get to do things to people like eHOMER after he has his heart attack....or for one of his children who were born with something....then people understand our commitment to life and not caring if people can pay up. We still treat the bum the same as the executive.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
  15. MC in TX

    I agree with Dr. Youn on many of his points but I believe the article misses a lot of key issues as well. First, let me say that there will always be people who get paid more than they deserve so arguing that, for example, because basketball players get paid ridiculous amounts of money means that MD's should as well is, frankly, gratuitous and insulting. By that argument, most of us should be paid far more than we are now.

    Fundamentally, though, the issue with MDs and money is really more an issue of their costs than their compensation. Right now MDs are forced to contend with excessive med school costs, high malpractice premiums, and horrific paperwork overhead (which means hiring people to deal with it). These are all things that can all be addressed and should be. Were these brought back down to more reasonable levels, these high salaries would go much further. $150K should be a good salary for anybody and the fact that so many doctor's struggle on that much money says that the system is broken. Fixing that should be the priority (mind you, the feds have tried to do just that and the Supreme Court is now deciding whether they will be allowed to do finish). I'm not arguing that MDs should not be allowed to make more money but, if you think about it, medical costs are already out of reach for a huge number of Americans, and the supply of care providers is shrinking, especially in primary care. Taking steps to increase average salaries for MDs beyond the $150K – $350K range would seem a counter-productive (and unsustainable) strategy. The U.S. needs to solve the real problems rather than continuing to put bandaids on the symptoms.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Chacko

    The basic difference is the amount of loan that you end up at the end of four year college and 4 year med school. This amout goes over 250K. Then interest addsup. Followed by three to five years of residency where you get enough to pay for your food and rent if your lucky to be leaving in a not so expansive place. Same with Law school four year college and three year law school you will have ~250K loan. Getting admission to any of the top law school or any of the madical school is not easy and they work hard for a number of years. They should be paid for theior hard work. 250 K can get you a house and for a avergae american morgagge is the biggest single payment that he keeps paying. A doctor has to pay back th loan. Buy a house and they have to work 80 + hrs whenh in traininmg and may be 60 + hrs when they practice. They ned to be paid well.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alyssa

      But should salaries be based on the student loans you had to take out to pay for that expertise? If that were the case then English majors should get just as well paying jobs as engineers.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
    • mrs.dr

      alyssa – it's not just the loans. it's what a person must sacrifice to become a doctor. monetarily, the med school and undergrad loans are the biggest factor, but additionally there's the high premiums depending on their specialty and constant out of pocket expenses to pay for things like board exams. i'm talking about thousands and thousands of dollars spent after they've graduated to become a practicing doctor. there's there's the personal sacrifice. many put off starting a family until they're done with their training (i.e., are in their 30's) to have a family because they don't have time before then. who wants to date a person who's working 60-80 hours a week, and most weekends, and spends their free time studying? they're forced to move around for internships, residencies, and fellowships (ever heard of the "match"? you don't get a choice where you go.) and a good doctor spends a lot of time on the side reading up on the latest new/research/innovations of their field. most doctors i know didn't read a regular fiction book until they finished their training and passed their boards.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:40 | Report abuse |
    • EP Cardiology

      mrs.dr. RIGHT ON

      May 1, 2012 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
  17. john

    some doctors dont make enough after taxes

    May 1, 2012 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Tina

    Doctors are well compensated according to their specialty. I don't see why they should be paid more or even less than what they are making. In addition to their pay they get a minimum of 6 to 12 weeks of vacation (paid). What IT or law profession can match that unless you are the managing director or a player who are solely there on their special gift and hard work. If you are a doc, and you work hard and setup your own practice and its thriving then you are making millions.
    Seriously, why are the primary care physician complaining, most of them are just robots, listening and charting.Very few think outside the box. This is the same in any profession.
    Since they are doctors and save our lives, I don't think they should be making any less than they are right now. They are better than average, so they should be paid better than average.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JS

      "In addition to their pay they get a minimum of 6 to 12 weeks of vacation (paid)."

      As a physician, I have NEVER heard of anyone getting remotely close to that. I get precisily ZERO paid vacation. Most physicians have so much to do they do not use what little vacation they can take. In 12 years I have accrued ~80 days of (unpaid) vacation which is unused and never will be.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
    • KellyP

      Really? I work for an orthopedic surgeon–he takes ZERO vacation!! ZERO! that is not a joke–Maybe back in the day they could take that much-bu those days are over. And no he doesn't take wednesday off the golf either–he works 5 days a week and then takes call as well.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      WHAT???? 6-12 weeks???? I currently get 2 weeks a year. My father had exactly ZERO weeks for his entire career. If he could find another physician to cover his patients he could take a few days to go on vacation with us. Where do you people get these ideas?

      May 1, 2012 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
  19. Elizabeth

    Waah, boo hoo, my heart bleeds for you. Poor doctors indeed. Who is grossly underpaid are people who work for doctors. I know, they have been nickel and diming me to death for years – in 20 years I have not had a raise working for physicians, but you can bet your bottom dollar those doctors have seen an increase in their pay. And get a grip Dr. Peterson – so what if "Dave," didn't thank you . . . You didn't take time to thank me for typing the report about Dave with the errors in it that I fixed for you that could have killed Dave, you big whine bag. LOL.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Danielle

      Its certainly clear that you are not very well educated

      May 1, 2012 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
    • medschoolkid

      I guess you should have gone to med school.

      May 1, 2012 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
    • Joe M.

      If your services were so valuable, you would be able to take a job with another doctor for a higher salary if your doctor wasn't compensating you fairly. As is it, I guess you realize that your salary is probably even higher than your worth, so you sit down and be quiet about it. Stop lashing out at others for your own worthlessness.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
    • scarf

      How could you have "fixed" the report with the errors in it that could have killed Dave? The reports are dictated until after the care is rendered?

      May 1, 2012 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
    • Joe M.

      Scarf – You have to understand the psychology of unintelligent people. They all think they are smarter than their bosses, that the place where they work would crumble without them, and that they are vastly underpaid.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
    • KellyP

      You are full of it–I can't believe you expect people to believe that you haven't had a raise in 20 years! That is too funny–Gee go apply somewhere else!

      May 1, 2012 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
  20. dutspup

    Evryone should earn a decnet living but Doctors make plenty of cash. Its like any other profession, like mine for instance. Im in IT I have my own customers, dont you think I've been stiffed once or twice, we all have so stop whining. I mean most of us are healthly, we go for our routine check up, wait an EXTRA 45 min to be seen because you guys cant seem to manage your day, then we see you for like 8 min tops, total no interest in me, few basic questions and smile and your gone while My deductible is 1500 a year that means my crappy little visit with your tardiness, and 8 min of worthless chatter cost me 125 bucks. Besides, dopnt you guys have an oath, and a reason for doing what you're doing besides getting rich. 156 G's is not chump change, its a very good living. Most of us are busting our rear working WAY more than you and in some cases physically while you flirt with the nurses, drink you're coffee in your office keeping patients waiting, cry me a river, go join wallstreet.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Danielle

      Are you saving people's lives?

      May 1, 2012 at 15:00 | Report abuse |
    • earlydoc

      The reason your wait is so long is because of little to no reimbursement, insurance, and the healthcare system in whole. How would you like to collect less than half of what you bill. When you work 80-90hrs a week, answer calls all night, and go into debt after giving up your twenties to complete school and residency just to fulfill that oath, you should be compensated.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
    • KellyP

      WOW! Personally my doctor is always on time-unless their is a trauma call or better yet–when the 1pm patient shows up late becasue he too feels the doctors are always late–well that patient just messed it up for everyone following! Patients need to take some responsibility. Do you know how many times they show up without the paperwork filled out? Show up at the appointment time-not early to do the paperwork and then get mad at the staff because it really shouldn't matter they are here and a paying customer

      May 1, 2012 at 15:57 | Report abuse |
    • whiners

      No kidding, I know an Anesthesiologist who makes 500 grand a year, gives all the work to his nurse anesthetist to do and hits the links in the afternoon. Yes, they could theoretically kill a patient, but after 12 years of training, you should probably be able to manage the process.

      Please do not put all doctor's in the same category. We know GP's are overworked and underpaid, especially in rural areas, but let's not put all doctor's in the same box, just as we shouldn't be comparing all lawyers to each other. I doubt the average lawyer makes over 60-70 grand a year. These stats that are being thrown out are skewed.

      May 1, 2012 at 17:38 | Report abuse |
  21. john

    lets give them a raise

    May 1, 2012 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Jack OShyte

    My MD billed me $400 for spending 20 minutes with me. A month later a dermatologist charged me $1,000 for 20 minutes. Doctors have a license to print money. And what about their victims? This article is ridiculous.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      I doubt you have really thought it through but the amount on the bill does not go into the doctor's pocket. They have to pay for their entire practice. What "victims" are you talking about, the people they heal?

      May 1, 2012 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
  23. Jay

    After obtaining all of that debt it actually worsens with lots of interest since we can't pay it off until well after residency as we only make 40k a year during residency (for 80 hours/week which is really like two 40hour/week 20k/year jobs), add on all the books, supplies, medical dues/license fees & of course thousands for board exams. We're horribly underpaid for what we do.

    May 1, 2012 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Danielle

      Just paid $3000 for boards that I take in Sept

      May 1, 2012 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Does that include a review course & review books, Danielle?

      May 1, 2012 at 23:08 | Report abuse |
  24. Will

    "According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average computer and information system manager earns $125,660 per year. The average lawyer makes $130,490 per year. Orthodontists take home $204,670. The New York Times recently reported the average base pay for managing directors at Morgan Stanley is $400,000. At Goldman Sachs, it’s $600,000. The average salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million. NBA players average $5.15 million per year."

    So NFL players/bankers/lawyers are overpaid too. What's your point?

    May 1, 2012 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Alyssa

    Why in the world would the insurance check go to the payment to be forwarded to the doctor? Besides, wasn't the check made out to the doctor? Short of check fraud, how would the patient be able to cash it?

    May 1, 2012 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bax

      Actually, this is not that unusual a practice, especially when a doctor is "out-of-network" for your insurance. Here's how the process typically works in these situations:
      1) Dr. X provides care for Patient Y and does not receive any compensation up-front.

      2) Dr. X bills Patient Y for the care, with the understanding that the patient will submit the bill to their insurance company.

      3) Insurance Co Z determines at what rate they compensate for the particular service that was provided, regardless of the actual bill amount and sends a check to Patient Y for that amount.

      4) Patient Y forwards the check from the insurance company onto Dr. Z.

      5) Dr. Z either forgives the rest of the balance on the bill or sets up a payment plan with Patient Y.

      Doctors are not allowed to charge patients for care before it is given (unlike any other transaction). Doctors are not allowed to refuse care to patients who cannot pay. Doctors have little recourse to retrieve outstanding bills from patients if they do not pay them.

      May 1, 2012 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
  26. don222

    I do understand doctor's issues with pay. I worked until recently as a paramedic, making $16.50 per hour. I worked as a paramedic because I wanted to help the ill. I worked an average of 80 hours per week caring for the sometimes very sick patients. The pay that doctor's average is not an amount to be discarded as underpaid. The industry (of medicine, and in this case doctors) is used to being overpaid and disagrees with what the country is now facing, a reduction in pay to levels that would be sustainable.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. jim

    only in America are the good honest doctors punished, the rest of them who know the network make a mint. New potential doctors should go to school other than in America.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. kathesw

    If a plumber experiences a rise in the cost of copper piping, he passes that cost along to his customers. If Kellogs has to pay more in gas costs to truck their goods throughout the country, the price of cereal goes up. If an attorney has a rise in the cost of postage or their phone service, they pass that cost on to their clients. Medicine is the ONLY profession where they are not allowed to raise the cost of their services to meet the rise in cost to them. For example, computerized health records will be mandatory soon under law. The average cost to implement this system in a one-physician office is approximately $40,000. Insurance companies and the federal gov't will not compensate physicians for this mandate.
    I live in an area where toll-takers make up to $90,000/year-and they don't even extend their arm out of the booth for the toll. I have to unbuckle my seat belt and reach INTO the booth to them. Why should pediatricians make only 50% more? Why should union ironworkers in NYC make over $80/hr? (that's 160,000/yr WITHOUT overtime)A primary care physician with at least 12 years of specialized education and $$$ in liability makes the same? and puts in a 50-60 hour week–without overtime?
    Americans always want the BEST when it comes to healthcare. The physician who sees your grandma in the nursing home takes home $7 per visit-AND has to wait 6-12 months for Medicare/Medicaid to pay him or her. After 12 years of training, $250,000 in school loans don't be surprised that when you pay peanuts, you get monkeys...

    May 1, 2012 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. JOSE0311USMC

    DOCTORS UNDER PAID ?? WHAT A JOKE....BE HAPPY YOU STILL HAVE A JOB.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JOSE0311USMC

      WE CAN EASILY IMPORT FOREIGN DOCTORS THAT WILL DO THE YOUR JOB FOR 50 % LESS THAN WHAT YOU ARE NOW GETTING...AMERICAN WORKERS JOBS BEEN OUTSOURCE...IF YOU HAVE A JOB TODAY ? SHUT UP AND BE HAPPY YOU STILL HAVE A JOB.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
    • medschoolkid

      No you can't import doctors for 50% of the cost. One of the primary reasons people get into health care is that they will always have job opportunities.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
    • dike

      If the government started issuing H1 visas to Doctors... there will be doctors looking for jobs not complaining that they could only afford to buy a Porsche and not a Ferrari

      May 1, 2012 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
    • GC

      WOW! Even as a marine you still would want to "import" a physician?!? Sure, why not give it all to China! Way to go soldier! Good thinking............

      May 1, 2012 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
  30. john

    got doctors

    May 1, 2012 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. humbleleemd

    The article scrutinizing NBA players for "Just for putting a ball in a hoop.".

    Is that what Kobe Bryant, MJ, LeBron James, and other NBA players do? I think their work ethic is just as rigorous or even more than physicians are.

    Are phyisicians underpaid? Depends on the specialty and how long you are in practice after paying the debt. It's a long term investment. Some doctors get paid (work hard, chose a specialty that pays significantly well after time) well while others are underpaid (many but not all primary physicians).

    May 1, 2012 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Bob

    I've seen alot of doctors in my life and some have been bad and some have been great. The APRN I'm seeing now has been by far the best as of yet. Not all doctors are the same and aren't worth the same pay. It's to bad they can't be paid by how good they are.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Lucy

    The bureau of labor statistics doesn't provide an average salary for a lawyer – it provides a median and that number is 112,760, not the 130 cited above.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. dike

    When I am in pain and when sick I am willing to give away all my money to get well.. so yes I dont mind paying well for doctors who really help patients... but when I know I need a antibiotic for a fever but have to pay 100's of $$ for a prescription that sucks and moreover 80% of that goes to the insurance company... When insurance companies are involved it is all about how much the middle man can make the money. All the in network out of network,,,,, it is all buddy system instead of just pay for performance... so it boils down to only money can save lives... not doctors

    May 1, 2012 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. mdson

    Lets see. Pay an athlete over $1MM dollar a year (or any entertainer for that matter) or pay a doctor that saves lives a little more. What the difference. Maybe doctors should start filming all their surgeries and make shows and start selling advertisements,oh hippa another government regulation. Government and Insurance companies would make the expenses cheaper on the individual and make the doctor make more $$.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dike

      do you know the ratio of the $1million paid athletes to doctors....????

      May 1, 2012 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
  36. loverpoint

    On and on about the poor doctor. I had an ear ache. I went to the near by pharmacy and was told by thepharmacist that I would need a prescription. So went to the doctor, he had me fill out all the paper work, then they weighed me, sent me to a room where I waited for a half an hour, the doctor came in and asked me the problem, I guess he didn't read the paperwork I filled out, When I told him I had an earache he checked my reflexes by tapping my knee, then he looked in my ear, about 2 seconds for just a glance, wrote the prescription- Dr. visit = $420.00 cash since I didn't have insurance, price of the medication $33.00 . Later I was told by friends of some home remedies that work just as well.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      By getting you to verbally describe your symptoms he is taking in all kinds of secondary information. If you had a serious infection a home remedy would probably not have worked. Everyone you came in contact with in that office is paid by that bill. Not to mention the building itself or the equipment inside it.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
    • sbp

      Cool story, bro. You go right ahead and stick to home remedies. Clearly, doctors have it out for the patients.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
  37. Evan

    The two faced piety with which people are criticizing physician pay on this forum is astounding. Your personal problem be it lack of a job, low pay, etc has nothing to do with an individual who invests up to 13 years of their life in an endeavour that results in 200k of student loans, atleast 50k a year in malpractice insurance, the costs of running a private practice, and business model where we can simply not be paid for absolutely no reason. Doctors are going out of business making 150K a year. It isn't because they are driving Ferraris. There will always be exceptions to every rule. In NYC a dermatologist can make an insane amount of money. That is the exception, not the rule. Doctors who do make large sums usually do so through shrewd business and my hat is off to them. I am a military physician who is leaving to go into civilian practice. I don't need a lecture by a medical assistant, teacher, or anyone else about what I deserve to make. I love taking care of patients, I do not need a million dollars a year to be rich. I do however expect my life to be comfortable for all I sacrificed to put into my education, I expect to be able to afford to send my children to college, and I expect to get paid for service I render.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. hslpn

    I agree that physicians are underpaid!!! We all agree that there needs to be healthcare reform of some kind. But, how about looking at the insurance companies for this reform???? Most of the CEO's, CFO's have less education than the physicians, yet, they make a boat load more money. How does that work???? Anyone who works in healthcare at the physician level, knows that insurance reimbursement is based on the Medicare allowable, and that keeps being cut more and more every year, when means their incomes are actually decreasing yearly. With the decrease in income, they have to see more patients, and then we all get angry when your doctor doesn't spend the time you think he should with you????? Just something to think about.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Former Medical Billeri

    I don't know if anyone mentioned this but insurance companies deny a large portion of a doctor's bill in a lot of cases so they don't get what you think they do. And telling them to go into another field of work hurts the consumer. Most doctors are dedicated to their patients but this false impression of them swimming in money is unfortunate. Some specialties do well but a lot of practioners are cut short by the almighty insurance companies. I can't tell you how much my docs wrote off from insurance denials and people who just don't pay. And still they served. God bless them!

    May 1, 2012 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Jack OShyte

    Careful, DRs. If you fall off that high horse, it's a long way down.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      Its also a long and difficult journey up. Nobody handed anybody a silver platter. Doctors work for what they get.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      Hope you don't fall off the horse and break a limb because there may not be a doctor available to help you if the compensation continues to decrease.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
  41. J FW

    http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2012/05/01/the-u-s-1-in-health-costs/

    May 1, 2012 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      From colelge? With what degrees? And no nurse with a weeks worth of experience would ever administer a 300mg dose of morphine. That's a potentially deadly dose. If you think you can do such a great job then use your 3 degrees, take the MCAT (which of course you would ace with all your experience) and then apply to med school.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:35 | Report abuse |
    • medschoolkid

      Sorry responded to the wrong post.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:36 | Report abuse |
  42. alcourts

    http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com

    May 1, 2012 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Elizabeth

    Obviously, you people who defend doctors are living in the stone age. Your medical records are routinely sent overseas to be transcribed by foreigners. There are horrible errors being made every day that you know nothing about – "Joe was given 300 mg of morphine," as dictated in one report by a "wonderful doctor," and in fact, the next time Joe was given morphine the nurse read the dose, administered it from the report and overdosed the patient causing him to be in a coma with irreversible brain and kidney damage. So before you throw stones, at least take the time to know what you are talking about. I do know. I've been doing this for 20+ years, and by the way . . . I have graduated from colelge 3 times. Imagine that!

    May 1, 2012 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      From colelge? With what degrees? And no nurse with a half a weeks worth of experience would ever administer a 300mg dose of morphine. That's a potentially deadly dose. If you think you can do such a great job then use your 3 degrees, take the MCAT (which of course you would ace with all your experience) and then apply to med school.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:35 | Report abuse |
    • KellyP

      How informed are you? Now very! We don't employ one single transcriptionist! Yes you read that correctly-the doctors are speaking directly into a speech recognition programs or they have to type it themselves.

      May 1, 2012 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
  44. The OTHER doctor

    Hey Anthony, I like your posts in general but I feel that this one was a little bit flawed or at least your experience is not complete: PhDs, for instance, also incur in high education debts and as far as I know it takes an even longer time than MDs to get to a highly paid position (see NIH postdoc salaries to get an idea and likelyhood of transition to an independent position), however, I do not see a big cry as to why we make so much less because we follow our hearts in finding cures for people. I believe most MDs now-a-days are a bit misguided as to their true motives for following that career path. Money should NOT be their priority!

    Also, what Dave did is likely ilegal and I am pretty sure that an insurance company would not let it hang that way since any time I get any medical visit I get a bill even after I payed immediately. Therefore, as jerkish as Dave's behaviour was I doubt that he is going to go unpunished for his stupidity.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bax

      Science PhDs do not pay for their own education. Many are actually paid to go to grad school. At Cornell, for instance, where medical students pay $70,000/year, this is what science PhD's get:
      "Each Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences (WCGS) PhD student receives a generous annual stipend intended to support his/her basic living expenses; the stipend is $33,122 for 2011-2012 academic year. Each student accepted to the PhD degree-granting programs is awarded a full tuition scholarship, which includes all tuition, fees and health insurance (approximately $29,000)."

      So, no... PhDs do not incur the same higher education expenses that MDs do. Get your facts straight.

      May 1, 2012 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
  45. sancho

    Booooo! Booooooo! The rest of us work hard too and make peanuts next to you, Dr Rich Man.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. DL

    Cell tower techs are paid less than 25 an hour to risk their life day and night, leave their families and children for weeks at a time on a moments notice, and regularly laid off for weeks or months when the carriers decide to stop putting out POs. Without these guys people wouldn't be able to call for a doctor. Who is really risking life to save lives? Do we not all perform our work in order to keep socity alive? Why should a doctor make any more than the construction worker who breaks his back to insure your roof doesn't collapse or the sandwich maker who insures the food has been prepared correctly?

    May 1, 2012 at 15:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      Maybe because a doctor is slightly higher educated than a construction worker or sandwich maker. Not to mention it takes a bit more talent to perform surgery than make a sandwich. A cell phone tower tech is not making life or death decisions at a moments notice. These are low skill, low to no education jobs. Not sure why you think they compare.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      Because anyone can train to become a cell tower tech. Many people start out wanting to become a doctor, they are weeded out by high school and college through academics. Many more decide that the lifestyle isnt for them. I will never say that I need more money, but I will say that physicians are easily the least compensated for the amount of training/expertise/difficulty of work professionals.

      May 1, 2012 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
  47. JD

    I can't even believe that people would say doctors are overpaid. They are actually saving lives. Their jobs are arguably the most important ones in the country. A football player makes millions of dollars a year to effectively "work" 16 days. The A-list actors and actresses in this country make tens of millions of dollars per movie, most of which take no more than a few months to film. What exactly to the contribute to society? It's not about the student loans. It's about the fact that doctors spend so much continuous time learning, even after certified, how to save lives. They work nearly 24-7, and a huge percentage of their earnings has to go toward malpractice insurance because of how stupid and litigious most people in this country are. There are plenty of fat-cat businessmen and lawyers that you could go on and on about being overpaid, and I'd agree with you. But if the best and most effective doctors in the country were making millions of dollars a year, I wouldn't think that was wrong. And spare me the teachers arguement. Yes, they are extremely important too, but most pay scales for public school teachers make it so that after a certain amount of years of service they do make over $100k to work 9 months a year. a teacher works about 40-50 hours a week 9 months a year. a doctor works 60-70 hours a week 12 months a year. So a doctor works roughly 4 times as many hours as a teacher. If they are equally effective at their jobs, a doctor SHOULD make more money than a teacher does.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • whiners

      You're obviously clueless about teaching, but I doubt you would last a week in a classroom. No decent teacher I know works only 40-50 hours a week. During the school year, I work 60-80 hours a week, and I also have to work during the summers because I need to make more money. Teachers are on 10 month contracts, but most of them work their summers as well. Get a clue. Who do you think taught these doctors. You don't think their chemistry, biology, physics, and AP calculus teachers gave them the opportunity to even pursue medicine?

      May 1, 2012 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
  48. Bryan

    These facts are well known. If you don't like the financial situation that being a doctor will put you in, here's a thought – try a different profession.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KJC

      That's exactly the issue. A lot of doctors ARE leaving the profession to retire early or do something else altogether for financial reasons. And then there are a lot of young people who would like to be doctors but make an economic decision not to be. This is fine for most professions – what do we care if you decide to become a bank teller instead of a writer. However, our country actually NEEDS a certain number of doctors in the field to be able to care for us all. So we have to set the pay at a threshold that will attract enough of them.

      May 1, 2012 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
  49. AlexisCaelli

    Doctors average between 80-85% in overhead and have on average 2000-4000/monthly loan payments in school debt.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Shawn

    There are a lot of jealous, ungrateful people here. If you want to put a value on what a professional is worth you can judge them by a couple of ways.

    1) THEIR VALUE TO SOCIETY. How valuable are an athlete's skills to our society? How valuable is the job a lawyer does? A banker? When your child is diagnosed with cancer is any amount of money too much? Without Doctors, what would our society look like? Name another profession that we need as much as we need doctors.

    2) SUPPLY AND DEMAND. So there are only a few people in the world with the skills of Tiger Woods or Payton Manning and people will pay to watch them. Without making a moral judgement, these people add monetary value to the team fanchise. But what about Doctors? There is only a small percentage of people in our society who have the ability to become Doctors. Just to become a Doctor It takes a combination of intellegence, compassion, and incredible work ethic that very few people can muster. There is a shortage of primary care doctors in this country and the problem is getting worse. Many doctors are no longer taking new patients because their schedules are booked so far out. If you want to hire an in-demand professional from any other profession they will set their prices based how in-demand they are. Doctors dont have this option. The government and private insurance companies set their prices.

    Medicine is the only profession in the country where each year you make less money for doing the same job. In order to keep providing the same level of patient care Doctors must pack more patients into their day. Thats why they are so rushed when they see you...because they have many many other sick patients that need to see them. And don't think that your doctors office is only open from 9 to 5 so thats all your doctor works. They are in the hospital rounding on patients long before the office opens and long after it closes.

    It makes me want to sceam when I hear someone say Doctors are supposed to become Doctors because they want to help people, not because they are greedy and want money. Whould you say a nurse should work for minimum wage because they shouldn't be "in it for the money". Or should our teachers not expect a fair wage because they should be "doing it for the children". Doctors have always been well paid, but in the past the public respected the fact that they were important to us. Now many people are just jealous and bitter of any one who has attained success. No matter the fact that they spent years and years of untold hours of labor to attain that success. No matter the fact that when your aging parent is brought to the ER in the middle of the night with a life treatening illness, It's a Doctor that will get a call to get out of bed and come save their life. No matter the fact that no matter how hard they fight to save lives they will always lose some battles. And when they do return home to their beds they lie down with the burdons of all those lost battles. Most people can not fathom the weight these guys carry around.

    There are only a hand full of professionals that we refer to by their salutation. Doctor, Reverend, Father, Judge etc. This is because there are only a few vocations that a person actually becomes something diffent. A priest does not ever stop being a priest. A Judge does not ever stop being a Judge. And a Doctor does not go home lay down their burdon and stop being a Doctor. Through all of those years and years of 80 hour residence weeks, and 36 hours days on the wards, and unending studying in between these shifts, a Med. Student either becomes something different from what they were before or they washout and find a diffent career. Thank good for those that make it through, because many of us wouldn't be here without them.

    May 1, 2012 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Reader

      Oh , I see: we should be happy that instead of correct diagnosis and meaningful treatment plan we are getting a slap on the back and astronomical bill after waisted time in the doctor's office. It is because they are busy.... Busy double booking ,scheduling up to 50 patients per day. It is called Beeing Geedy! If you can't provide an adequate care for 50 patients a day , theN don't promise what you can't deliver. And don't bill the full price if you did not give a full attention to the patient.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:25 | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Reader, Your are arguing against a point I did not make.

      If you don't think modern Doctors can give you a correct diagnosis and meaningfull treatment plan then save yourself the time and money and treat yourself and your family yourself and see how that works out.

      Yes they are busy. Not because they are greedy but because they are in such demand. Almost every community in this country has a shortage of primary care Docs. The situation in the next few years will be dire. Unless you want to wait months to get an appointment, they need to see lots of patients a day. I doubt you can find a doctor that schedules himself 50 patients a day but you might need to if we dont attract more smart people into the medical feild.

      BTW Doctors don't really have a choice in how much they charge you. Fee schedules are determined by the contracted rate your insurance company negotiates. These negotiated rates are generally based on the Medicare rates set by the government.

      May 2, 2012 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.