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 (15,183 Responses)
  1. The Truth

    I've been reading all these people say how so many people would be so glad to work for $150,000 annually. That might be true if you only had to get a 4-year degree and $50,000 of debt. But if people had to commit to 11-16 years of education and mandatory training (which includes 80 hour work weeks for 3-7 of those years); $200,000 or more of debt; 60 hour work weeks; constant home call; the constant threat of litigation; and constant whiners like the people on this thread, the vast majority of people would not be that excited about working for $150,000. If you keep physician salaries low, you'll only attract primarily poor talent.

    May 1, 2012 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      Hi. I personally know a doctor with 2 years of work experience. She works 4 days a week and takes home $100,000/year, AFTER paying all her expenses for student loans, taxes, etc. She also works at the military hospital, which is the lowest-paying type of hospital.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:18 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I am not going into the argument if doctor's get paid enough and if they deserve what they get. I want to comment on the anecdote about Dave. I don't think that the story is at all appropriate to illustrate the situation. You cannot use a situation in which someone is doing something both illegal and insensitive, to say the least, to shore up the argument that doctor's are not well paid. The entire medical system is out of whack, from the excessive tuition for medical schools, to the exploitation of residents, to the fees paid to hospitals and doctors, to the high cost of medicines, to the expensive machinery, to the high insurance rates. Everyone contributes to the absurd system in some measure. I am sure, however, that we can't put the blame on doctors exclusively..

      May 1, 2012 at 21:28 | Report abuse |
    • med student

      Keep in mind that working 80 hour weeks until your mid 30s also does a real number on your dating life. At my school, 2 out of 3 relationships and marriages broke up or divorced within the first year. This is even higher for residency years. At the UW surgery residency, 11 out of the 12 residents were divorced by the 5th year of residency training. Out of everyone who starts college as a "premed", MOST of them will not make it to 3rd year to take the MCATs. Of those who do take the MCAT, only 1 out of 5 will make it into medical school. Keep in mind that outside of medicine, 1/10 individuals make a 6 figure salary, but they are doing this without 13 years of schooling after high school. Considering the selectivity of the premed process, and how many years are spent in training, physician salaries are in equilibrium with the rest of the market.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:48 | Report abuse |
    • WolfySilver42

      So let's see this person is making 100k a year after paying expenses and you guys work non stop all the time right? How the heck do you guys not make enough money where do you find enough time to spend it all if your constantly working? Are you guys saying we should give you more money your just going to hoard because you don't have time to spend it?

      May 1, 2012 at 23:17 | Report abuse |
    • hello1010

      "Medicine is also the only profession where its members are sometimes required to work for free."

      Actually, no. This article is fraught with misinformation and assumptions. Before I spent six years obtaining a PhD in clinical psychology, I was a social worker. I routinely worked 60+ hour weeks, was also frequently on call for emergencies (suicidal clients, children in foster care who disappeared, sexual assaults), and NEVER got raises. I had a master's degree and a professional license. Before I left the profession, I was at a job where I made $40,000 a year. It was the most I'd ever been paid, even after 10 years of post graduate work experience. I also had student loan debt.

      Overall, I've spent 13 years of my adult life as a student. Like many MDs, I owe six figures in student loan debt, because becoming a doctor of any kind requires major sacrifice and investment. As a doctoral student, I too spent 60-80 hours a week working. I only have one job now, but still routinely deal with ALL the things The Truth mentioned in his/her post. The thing is, I absolutely love my work, and I wouldn't change anything. Sure, it would be nice to make more than $60,000 a year (my current salary and a close approximation of the average psychologist's salary), but I never went into this with the expectation that I'd be making lots of money. So yeah, I'd like to be sympathetic, but... I'm just not.

      May 2, 2012 at 01:17 | Report abuse |
    • Gudumba

      I don't understand why people crib over doctors' pay, instead of at these basket ball players or the Wall Street guys.
      You don't even want to look at your ugly butt, but these docs have prod, probe, touch our ugly bodies. Just for that they deserve that much.

      So, it looks like we want the docs paid the lowest, but we want the highest care from them. Very unfair.

      May 2, 2012 at 02:49 | Report abuse |
    • medical student

      WOW! Hello1010- I have to say if you want to compare yourself to a doctor. GOOD LUCK! I've had so many PhD psychologists try to teach us. The degree is 1/100th as difficult to attain, your hours may be long, but nowhere NEAR as long as ours, and most importantly, you don't have the difficult task of making life and death decisions every day. Until you go through what we have, none of you can have any idea the sacrifice and dedication it takes. We are VASTLY underpaid. If you take the amount of years that we don't earn, minus our tremendous student loans, and factor that into our salary, we only make $2 more than a school teacher, which everyone agrees is underpaid.

      May 2, 2012 at 03:24 | Report abuse |
    • Karen Dowdall

      As an RN for many years I know that physicians are under paid, spent at least 15 years becoming qualfied board certified, work hours unbelieveable, get little thanks from their patients and are sued regularly by patients who have no education and have no clue about anything, don't do preventative care. It is a sad thing because many of these physicians who are great wish they had never become physicians at all, wish they were like the Romney's crooks of the world.

      May 2, 2012 at 04:49 | Report abuse |
    • al kuhn

      I wish the good doctor had taken a course in statistics. He would then realize that an "average" anything is (often intentionally)a misleading figure. For starters, although not the best but still more illuminating than "averages" would be the mean. Glad he didn't pursue a career in mathematics. Al Kuhn

      May 2, 2012 at 08:16 | Report abuse |
    • Med Student Husband

      Wow, Al Kuhn. Looks like you fell off the high horse. It's too bad you have no basic understanding of statistics yourself. The average is the same as the mean. I think you meant median, but instead you simply come across as arrogant and ignorant. Please tell me you're not in a career involving numbers!

      May 2, 2012 at 08:36 | Report abuse |
    • justme

      Human doctors ARE overpaid. Veterinarians go through the same training as human doctors, we have to learn about multiple species, I graduated with a little over $200,000 (yes, the amount of 0s is correct) in student loans, I have to treat clients as possible lawsuits, people call me selfish and that I hate animals when I try to get payment, 60 hour weeks are very common. You know how much an average veterinarian makes starting out? about 70k. Hospital owners and very few lucky ones may hit a $100k, which is nothing when you're trying to pay mortgage and 6-figure student loans. And you have human doctors whining that they ONLY make 150k???? No wonder my profession is the number one on the suicide list.

      May 2, 2012 at 08:58 | Report abuse |
    • theAverageInStatistics

      @Med Student Husband

      Please be careful when you make a statement such as "It's too bad you have no basic understanding of statistics yourself. The average is the same as the mean." Why? Your last sentence in the quote is incorrect.

      The average is NOT necessarily the same as the mean. In statistics, the average is a measure of central tendency. Common examples of the average include the median, the mode, and the arithmetic mean. For more information, please visit the wiki page at the link below:


      May 2, 2012 at 22:57 | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    Physicians are certainly not underpaid. They have a secure, lifetime job. Recall that we used to justify the low salaries we paid public school teachers by pointing to their "tenure" (i.e., they had a lifetime job). Those highly paid professional athletes have very short careers, many lawyers and bankers are not now working in their profession, and those Goldman Sachs managing directors (of whom there are very few) have little job security. Who, other than physicians, have job security? How much is that worth?

    May 1, 2012 at 20:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Grateful Patient

      @Joe: Actually Doctors don't have job security. All it takes is 1-2 mistakes and they can get fired and kiss their medical license goodbye. Plus Doctors have to constantly keep up with the latest developments, how new drugs can affect their patients, etc. Its definitely not easy being a doctor and if you count the number of hours that they have to work which averages around 60 hrs a week, they really don't make all that much. If they have a private practice, they have to pay their staff, rent, utilities, etc.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:22 | Report abuse |
    • Crystal

      As a nurse who works in a hospital I feel that some doctors are underpaid. I see these doctors in the morning when I come in at 6:30 and then see them come back in after office hours to see more patients. When I worked nights I at times spoke to them at all hours of the night and morning because their patients needed them. My husband is a teacher and even though he works very hard I know many doctors that put in way more hours. Patients come in do not follow their instructions and then blame the doctors because they could not make them better. They are forced to care for patients who do not want to work hard but with people of questionable ethics use the legal system as a lottery and sue because they did not get their way. Each profession has good and bad members, but some doctors are not in it for the money and they are underpaid.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:42 | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      The problem is lumoing all doctors in the same group. We found a great pediatrician for our kids at a clinic where they take all types of insurance, even public aid. The doctors there dont make enough in 10 yrs to pay all their living expenses and pay off student loans etc. Some doctors are ridicously over paid, but there are a lot who are not.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:49 | Report abuse |
    • crazuki

      Oh Yes????? talk about Teachers.In Michigan kids go to school 169 days a year only,on top of that 5-6 snow days. Last winter they were all whiny coz they didn't get enough snow.

      May 2, 2012 at 09:31 | Report abuse |
  3. Johnny

    Ok, if doctors aren't making this money in health care who is??

    I had a $12,000 bill for a single evening stay at a hospital. I am uninsured, so I went down to figure out payment at the billing office the morning I checked out. Well, we settled on $1,200. No, that is not a typo! They still made a little money by charging me $1,200 instead of $12,000. Now, I want to know... if I paid $12,000, where would that money have gone?? There is a serious scam going on here.

    May 1, 2012 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      The hospital would rather settle with you than not get paid anything at all. You don't go into very much detail but I'm sure your one night's stay involved more than occupying a bed. You have to pay the doctors, nurses, support staff, the maintenance and building costs, you used sheets and pillows, I'm sure you ate as well. Then I bet you at least had some IV fluids, blood tests, maybe antibiotics or painkillers. All of the needles and IVs used were new and then thrown away. If you think about it it legitimately adds up quick. And no they didn't "make a little money still", they just got what they could out of you to help take care of a portion of the costs. They lost a lot of money.

      May 1, 2012 at 20:54 | Report abuse |
    • James

      Johnny, your bill is the list price for all the hospital charges, and if you had paid it, you would helping the hospital subsidize all of the uninsured patients who did not have the character to do what you did and be responsible for their care. Even patients with Medicaid are often loss leaders for hospitals. When someone on Medicaid shows up in the ED for a non-urgent reason (and they do all the time, not caring or able to seek regular appointments), the hospital gets something like $37. Imagine all the costs of tests, nurses, doctors, electricity, costly medical supplies, janitor, unit clerk, registration personnel, etc.. I suspect even though $1200 is a lot of money, that probably didn't even cover actual costs, but the hospital realizes getting something is better than nothing.

      We're all paying for the healthcare of the uninsured, in some way or another, and just may not realize it.

      May 1, 2012 at 20:57 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      To answer your question, Jonny:

      You'll need to look at the salary of the Chief Medical Officer of your hospital (and the CEO/COO). My local hospital paid the CMO $1.4 million last year. Clearly, hospitals are loosing money (just kidding); the $12,000 would have gone into pockets of doctors and we all know it.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:06 | Report abuse |
    • Gene

      The hospital most certainly lost money on you by settling for 10 percent of your bill. As the others stated, they would rather take something than nothing. Hospitals bleed money taking care of the uninsured and underinsured. Even if your $1200 covered YOUR costs, there is overhead to pay for all that staff and equipment available to take care of people who come in who are critically sick.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:08 | Report abuse |
    • Gene

      Brian, ZERO of those dollars went to the physicians. That's a 100% GUARANTY!

      May 1, 2012 at 21:11 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      It goes to all the overpaid people who work at the hospital or profit from it.

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



      May 1, 2012 at 21:54 | Report abuse |
    • sbp

      Derp – the hospital has to charge $12,000 for what may have been only $6,000 in actual costs to cover deadbeats like you who don't get insurance, then show up sick and get treated anyway. Your $1,200 "bill" was charity you didn't deserve.

      The $12,000 that MY insurance company would pay for the same procedure is subsidzing people like you. Which is what the whiners about Obamacare don't understand. Making everyone get insurance means affluent people won't have to pay for poor people's health care in the form of higher insurance premiums.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:59 | Report abuse |
    • Crystal

      There are many places that the money goes. First the hospital has to pay for taxes and utilities as well as everyone else. The hospital also has to pay for insurance because we live in a country with many people who will sue for no reason. There is also the cost of your food and the people who take care of you while you are there. The hospital has to maintain the equipment and make sure they comply with all of the many regluations that the government puts in place and then changes on a regular basis. They have to pay for medications, the drug companies do not give medications to the hospitals for free. When you are in the hosptial you are cared for by a team. There is not just one doctor and a nurse. There are housekeepers, food service people, pharmacist, and many others who worked to take care of you for just that one day.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:05 | Report abuse |
    • Reader

      I see it all the time: can someone tell me why hospitals / physicians are charging up to 10 times more of a contracted rates? So later they can show how much of " hard earned'" money they have to write off?

      May 1, 2012 at 23:32 | Report abuse |
    • Gene

      It's funny how goodwill from the hospital to agree to lose money on you is being twisted into a knock against that same hospital. We (private office) write off bills and give charity care all the time. You have outliers in every profession, but I think the vast majority of those in healthcare try day in and day out to better the health and lives of their patients. Seeing all this hatred gives me second thoughts. I wonder what my patients think of me when I give them a break because they're having financial difficulties....

      May 2, 2012 at 00:02 | Report abuse |
  4. Anon

    I think doctors deserve the money they make. The investment they make in education, giving up their social life, to put up mentally with the stress, and hours worked – I think that sums it all up right there. I would rather have a doctor well paid, who knows that if he / she screws up his / her career is DONE, so that when it comes time for me to be operated on – I have a doctor who is ALERT and ATTENTIVE.

    May 1, 2012 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • joan

      Just as more money for a CEO does not get better results, same for the doctor. I asked several undergrads when I was in school why they wanted to be a doctor, and ALL of them essentially said because it pays well. And if they screw up, very little ramification, after all how many are actually forced out due to malpractice? I'm pretty sure it is tiny. All they have to do is say medicine is not a science. They are grossly overpaid. They are not much different than a glorified auto mechanic.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:07 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      If the government would stop forcing society to shovel so much money into the health care industry, you would see a lot of doctors happily earning much less. They are overpaid.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:14 | Report abuse |
    • sbp

      Joan, you know NOTHING. Having a hard time believing you were IN college talking to undergrads, unless you were working in the cafeteria.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:02 | Report abuse |
    • joan

      sbp, keep your mouth shut and get off this forum if you want to be insulting to others.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:13 | Report abuse |
    • Brandon


      You have no clue what you are talking about. Doctors put in 12+ years studying, regular 60-80 hour work weeks, and almost zero margin for error. Glorified auto mechanics? Are you kidding me? You obviously have no concept of how day in and day out making one mistake can end your career. You think that being accountable for someone's life is the same as someone's vehicle? Get a clue.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:16 | Report abuse |
    • ANC

      SBP and Brandon, a doctor is to thank for my disabilities. With no doubt. I received a gross substandard of care. Guess how much I received. Nothing. Turns out giving him permission to operate released him from liability. A decade later and I am STILL suffering from what he did wrong, and always will. He is still practicing medicine.

      My father-in-law was harmed by a doctor. That doctor's name is well-known around there, and he has left a trail of patients who've been hurt by him. There is a group of people in contact about it, and none of them have been able to get relief. A judge turned down a class-action. The doctor is still practicing. What he did to my father-in-law has resulted in a man disabled a couple years after what should have been a minor surgery. It's provable that he lied about some aspects of my father-in-law's care and that he tried covering up some errors (including nurses' statements).

      For the most part, doctors are immune.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:48 | Report abuse |
    • Bombs

      Wow that is impressively ignorant. If u want to treat healthcare like any good please choose not to go to a doctor or ER ever please. Feel free to go to your alternative medicine folks who will require payment upfront. Your personality is the kind that sues doctors for stupid things thus driving he cost of healthcare.

      May 2, 2012 at 22:45 | Report abuse |
    • ERDoc234

      @ JOAN–Very funny, an auto mechanic. Try going there next time you need your appendix out! LOL Go to a dealer though, I hear they never gouge anyone or sell unnecessary services. Why don't you save the health care system money–since you don't see the value of physicians, DON'T GO!

      May 2, 2012 at 22:53 | Report abuse |
  5. joan

    Doctors are similar to gang members or union members with their AMA. That gang intentionally limits the supply of doctors by colluding to restrict medical graduates at our colleges. Their bloated salaries are the cause of the rise of the insurance industry, as bad as that is, which is an attempt to limit overpayment. Most doctors are not open or thorough during the visit, do not volunteer any common sense information to their patients, would not dare disobey their gang by ever suggesting alternative treatments should conventional brainwashed medicine not be the answer, and rush you through their practice mainly see YOU as a dollar sign. That's right, they "practice" making money off of you. Last time you went to a doctor office or ER, what is the first thing their goon-secretaries demand?? Your ID, contact information of all your relatives allegedly for emergency purposes but really for hunting you down for their billing, and this is BEFORE they even ask what is your ailment. DOCTORS WITH THEIR HISTORICAL BLOATED SALARIES ARE THE VERY ROOT CAUSE OF OUR GROSSLY MISFUNCTIONAL AND EXPENSIVE MEDICAL "SYSTEM".

    May 1, 2012 at 21:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      Doctors do not have a union. The shortage of doctors is not caused by medical schools being super selective. The bottleneck is actually at residency positions which are allocated and paid for purely through medicare. So unless the federal government is in on it there is no grand scheme. Conventional "brainwashed" medicine is what doctors primarily go by because it is based on scientific evidence. And yes the secretary wants to have billing info on you. Do you think it would be fair to receive treatment then not pay? If you hate doctors so much then don't use them. I'm sure you will survive for a few years on your own.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:10 | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      Doctors do not contribute to the health care costs as most believe.

      Look up a few studies, take the time to google it. Doctor salaries amount for ballpark figures of only 5-7% of healthcare costs.
      That is hardly a lot.

      Moreover, let's say we cut salary by 50%. You will see a huge drop in top, talented, college graduates wanting to enter medicine (simple economics). Do you want a random, average person being your doctor and being in charge of your life or someone who was vastly more intelligent and talented?

      You want the best of the best taking care of you and your family members right? What incentive do you for drawing these people to the field besides just the "personal satisfaction?"

      May 1, 2012 at 21:12 | Report abuse |
    • Doctor Doom

      That's right Joan. The doctors are all gang members and have tattoos on their backsides that say " We became doctors because we like working 36 hour shifts and rescuing your sorry ass when you get drunk and drive into a tree" (they have gigantic asses to accommodate that entire tattoo, by eating lots of caviar during their 3 minute lunch breaks). They actually enjoy defeating Darwinism so that the dumbest members of society survive.I suggest you have a chat with your friends ,the aliens from outer space who probed you, and perhaps they can teach you about conspiracy theories and spell-check. PS Enjoy that caps lock button. Good luck with that alternative treatment when you have your first stroke.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:12 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Joan, I'm sorry you feel this way. Medical schools and residencies do not purposly "limit" spots. For many surgical residencies it is difficult to increase the number of spots as each graduate requires sufficient surgical cases to graduate and assure adequate training. These surgical cases are not readily abundant in all areas/cities.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:17 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      You are correct. Government-subsidized racket.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:25 | Report abuse |
    • Saying

      joan – I like your style. I agree with your take on this. Racket indeed. Doctors manipulate EVERYTHING for money.

      I've not heard a single person going to medical school think of anything but money, but hey, what do I know?

      When this economy falls more and more, the health care system is a big bubble that will POP – doctors will soon feel the pinch!!!

      May 1, 2012 at 21:58 | Report abuse |
    • Wyatt


      I will agree that there are some doctors that are over paid, but as the son of a surgical oncologist I can tell you, MY DAD EARNS THE MONEY HE MAKES. My dad spent 12 years in college busting his ass to just get out and get a job. During his residency he made $20,000 a year. And spend 120 hours a week in the hospital. Now there is no restriction on letting doctors into the work force. THEY DONT LET PEOPLE WHO SUCK become doctors. Obviously there are terrible doctors out there, the system is not perfect. But when you become a doctor you are being entrusted with someones lift. You can't compare that to an auto mechanic, they make mistakes. I can tell you in the 30 years my dad has been in work, he didn't make anywhere near $200,000. He had to work for 20 YEARS to get there, and from 5:30am to 8pm. Normally with 2-3 calls in the middle of the night from nurses. THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE THE 20 HOURS A WEEK OF EMERGENCY CARE

      May 1, 2012 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
    • Wyatt


      I will agree that there are some doctors that are over paid, but as the son of a surgical oncologist I can tell you, MY DAD EARNS THE MONEY HE MAKES. My dad spent 12 years in college busting his ass to just get out and get a job. During his residency he made $20,000 a year. And spend 120 hours a week in the hospital. THAT"S LIKE $3.50 AN HOUR. WHEN HAVE YOU EVER WORKED FOR THAT MUCH? Now there is no restriction on letting doctors into the work force. THEY DONT LET PEOPLE WHO SUCK become doctors. Obviously there are terrible doctors out there, the system is not perfect. But when you become a doctor you are being entrusted with someones life. You can't compare that to an auto mechanic, they make mistakes. I can tell you in the 30 years my dad has been in work, he didn't make anywhere near $200,000. He had to work for 20 YEARS to get there, and from 5:30am to 8pm. Normally with 2-3 calls in the middle of the night from nurses. THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE THE 20 HOURS A WEEK OF EMERGENCY CARE he has to provide in the emergency room. My dad is old. PHYSICALLY GREYED from the stress of work. Do you realize if he makes a mistake, someone dies????? he does, he knows that what he is working on is human. And yes, it takes one lawsuit, one mistake, to put you out of business. Did you also know that doctors must also do a minimum hours of reading a year which is required? Please, PLEASE do some research into what it ACTUALLY takes to become a doctor, don't be one of those people "WHO THINKS THEY KNOW" about stuff from watching tv and the news. that is ignorant. I'm not calling you that. Nor can I try to make you think differently, but I want you to go find a doctor in the ER and ask him how hard it was to get where he was. I can tell you, really really hard. I will never want to work as a doctor merely because of the stress. I want to enjoy my life. My dad didn't have a life until he started dating my mom at 35 years old. And I can tell you, as an Aeronautical and Mechanical engineer myself my work is HARD, but what my dad does, is near humanly impossible.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:53 | Report abuse |
    • Reader

      I remember an article about how many physicians switched to a day trading when the stoks where going up non stop in the 90s...I am sure that about 90% going into profession for money, 9% for status and recognition only, and about 1% for true care for community and devotion to the art of medicine.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:41 | Report abuse |
    • Reader

      Joan ! You are the best ! Thank you!

      May 1, 2012 at 23:44 | Report abuse |
    • HardWorkingMan

      JOAN–I got you pegged, you are obese, chronic pain on narcotics and possibly bipolar. It's too bad the psychiatrist couldn't help you but that would explain your bitterness.Try your tin foil hat. It holistic and doesn't cost much. Oh, and put down the donut!

      May 2, 2012 at 23:02 | Report abuse |
  6. Jay

    Hospital CEOs make an average of $700,000.

    Most Service Line Directors make $150,000. Discuss

    May 1, 2012 at 21:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ryan

      I know of no service line Director that makes $150k/year. I am one and I make barely half that. I work 50-60 hours a week plus answer phone calls at all hours of the night. I don't do the work to make money, I do it because I enjoy the work. I do it because, in most cases, i get the pleasure of seeing people get better.
      Here's an alternative – go to England or Canada and enroll yourselves in a healthcare system that rations care. Wait months for your coronary bypass or your hip replacement and them see how you like it.
      But yet, you want your care here and now. You don't want to make an appointment and wait for it through your doctor's office so you go to the ED for your cough. Were you turned away? Did you get seen? Did you gritch and moan because you had to wait? But, you did get seen. Right? And in a lot of the cases, you'll skip your bill but by god, you've got you 2 packs a day of smokes and you cell phone with the best data plan. You want healthcare here and now? Then you have to pay good people good money to put up with the likes of you.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:45 | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    I am a physician and feel that I am compensated fairly. At the same time, I am concerned increasing paperwork, patient loads, and stress coupled with decreasing reimbursement is going to drive many of our smartest, most dedicated students away from medicine. If you are a patient and develop a serious condition which resolves with excellent medical care; you will not say your physician is overpaid

    May 1, 2012 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • joan

      You're a brave man to say that Steve. Don't give your full name to the AMA or they'll be furious. If the serious condition is resolved, I'll attribute that to luck, not the doctors I've ever had! ! REALLY I"M SERIOUS. You might be a caring one, but the vast majority I've seen are not. $ $ $ is all they see.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:10 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      What you just said is a form of extortion. "Pay what I ask or die". Come on now.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:12 | Report abuse |
  8. Doctors R Overpaid

    Dear doctors:

    The government is forcing your salaries to be much higher than they should be. Too many people with "free" insurance provided by their employers by law. When that goes away, you will discover that you were once highly overpaid.

    May 1, 2012 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Philip

      to Doctors R Overpaid:

      Let's take your scenario. Take away "free insurance." Then what? People who don't have insurance die?
      That's a question in and of itself: is healthcare a right or a privilege? I can assure you that while you may be able to afford it, if you got sick one day or for a large portion of the country, when they can't...what happens if you walk into the hospital and they just go "nope sorry, you don't have insurance. not treating you."

      If doctors are forced to treat you, then aren't they just doing charity work? Why do they need to charity work? Please explain your logic.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:15 | Report abuse |
    • FamilyMDinPittsburgh

      Nothing is free. Insurance isn't free, and medical care isn't free. There are plenty of doctors who refuse to take insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. Those doctors are the rich ones.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:19 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      Take away free insurance, and doctors have to go back to competing in a free market. That means health care goes back to being very affordable, just like it was BEFORE the free insurance went into effect. Very simple. You get a doctor with a price schedule, and you change doctors if you don't like that one.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:20 | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      Doctors R Overpaid:

      Please accept this from someone who has taken a fair bit of healthcare economics. I'll give you an example of why a free market in healthcare wouldn't work.

      In most free-market examples, say…laptops. If you think one is too expensive, you buy another one. If you can't afford one, you just don't buy one altogether.
      General gist – pretty simple…

      Cept you can't do that in healthcare. Say you had a heart attack and you need a cath. Well, maybe the cardiologist you're seeing, you can't afford. You go find another one. What happens if none of them offer it at a price you can afford simply because the cost of their time + mostly the equipment / drugs / other nurses, / etc cost more than you're able to pay. Then what? You just go die?

      This dilemma occurs for tens of millions of Americans. We can't just let them all die. The free-market system breaks down.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:33 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      The free market in health care always worked. Things didn't go awry until the government started interfering with the money part of it.

      You took classes in "health care economics"? So you're an industry guy then. OF COURSE they taught you that the industry won't work unless the government shovels unlimited money into it. That's what's making them so rich.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
    • joan

      Philip, this is an interesting subject. I think that the answer cannot be a completely free market system, but surely the insurance system we have now is not the right answer. There are plenty of cases of people dying BECAUSE of the insurance industry, with delays to get approvals or not even getting approvals. The expense of insurance industry is immense. Walking into a doctor office you ca see how many staff are there just to interpret and administer insurance. A free market in some sense with some govt regulations I think is more the answer. Perhaps emergency procedures need to be mandated to a certain minimum standard for ERs to provide, so it does not matter if that individual doctor cannot afford the equipment, it is up to the hospital. But for other non-urgent needs, the free market would work. I'm not convinced any totally free market will ever work for anything, even laptops, some (not too many as we have today) rules aka laws are always needed for fairness, ethics, checks/balances, sanity, etc. Comments?

      May 1, 2012 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      Hey Joan:

      I'm not talking about a lawless market; I'm talking about a free one. It is not "free" when the government tells people they HAVE to spend their money on a certain product on the private market. I think it's OK for them to pass minimum standards, etc. Of course that causes a certain minimum price that must be charged as well. It worked before; it can work again.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:52 | Report abuse |
    • joan

      Doctors R Overpaid, I agree, I did not think you were thinking that, rather explaining those thoughts I had to Philip.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:18 | Report abuse |
    • To Philip

      I think that physicians , who like to compare themselves to the other professions of the customer service should agree to be
      paid based on the quality of their work: if I see a doc for a rush, but after 3 visits / treatments it is not getting any better , why do I have to pay the full price for all three visits?

      May 1, 2012 at 23:49 | Report abuse |
  9. steve

    Veterinarians spend just as long in school and graduate with the same debt load. And they are thrilled to make $65,000 / year. Vets simply don't charge nearly as much for the exact same medications, anesthetics, procedures, etc.

    May 1, 2012 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      That's because no one's being forced to by insurance for their pets, so the natural laws of supply and demand are in effect there.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:22 | Report abuse |
    • FamilyMDinPittsburgh

      1. The demand for veterinarian care is an almost imperceptible fraction of the demand for medical care.
      2. The threat of litigation for a veterinarian is a fraction of that for a physician.
      3. The lifestyle of a veterinarian is much more tolerable than that of a physician, who has to take call and/or do shift work.
      4. There is no "vet insurance" middleman jacking vet care costs up. It's all out of pocket. Which means the overhead of a vet's billing department is trivial compared to a physician's office.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:25 | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    Two Points, the story is compelling but for every Dr Peterson there are 3 surgeons who are raking it in by self referring ownership in affiliated providers like surgery centers, CT scans, laser providers, etc. Secondly, see the article in the Raleigh News and Observer about "Non Profit" Hospitals...

    May 1, 2012 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Janie

      Even a non -profit hospital has to cover overhead expences, and funny thing nothing Is free for them. They still have to comply with all the rules & regulation set fourth by the government, state & local authorities. So how can you or anyone else expect that a hospital should treat you or anyone for free? oh and by the way z
      Hospital & doctors can not write off the services that are provided regardless if they don't get paid from their taxes as charity because their taxes are paid on monies collected not services provided. They can write that money off from your account but they sure don't get to use that bad debt as a write off or use that as a deduction on their taxes So ecentually they treated you for free. Not fair in my book. People tend to forget that their are clinics around that do treat people based on their income sliding scale.
      Let me ask you this would you go to work tomorrow if you were not going to get paid for your services??? Chances are you would not..

      May 2, 2012 at 03:40 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Of course not but if you read the article you noted that these "non-profit" hospitals have BILLIONS of dollars in cash reserves, offer very small %'s in charitable relief, earn hundreds of million each year, pay there CEO's, VP's and Directors millions in compensation and yet are not paying their fair share of taxes because they are NON PROFIT??? I am sure you read the articles in-depth but I am having trouble understanding the logic of your post. Do you just like to comment and take counter point positions??? GREED is the common denominator in this whole equation. The 1% have rigged this system.

      May 2, 2012 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Sorry I meant Janie not Joan...
      Janie do you work for a non profit hospital???

      May 2, 2012 at 08:59 | Report abuse |
  11. Martin

    I am a sanitary engineer in a large Baltimore university-based hosptial (you know the one). Been here 24 years, walking the halls I can't tell you how many times. Guess how many student doctors (in medical school) and residents (completed medical school) I've had the fortune to listen to (as they talk to each other)? Countless – thousands.

    I'n my first years, student doctors were alright. In the last 12 years or so, my summary of their discussions: future money, money, money. That's it. No tears for suffering patients. Nothing like that. Compassion: I haven't seen it. Greed: that's the new medical doctor creed.

    In fact, what I also see is doctors standing around a lot. I don't see them frantically working hard. I've talked to many who "work" 36 hour shifts (not anymore, mind you, now it is limited to 24) and guess what they're doing most: standing and talking about this and that (baseball, TV shows, etc.). I do not agree doctors work all of those hours – they stand around a LOT.

    May 1, 2012 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      That's because the government is forcing society to shovel boatloads of money into the health care industry. Makes for huge paydays.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:24 | Report abuse |
    • medstudent

      i'm sorry that this has been your experience. but there are plenty of us who are not greedy, who would be happy to live lives that are dedicated to serving the needy without being paid obscene amounts of money. so i guess what i'm saying is that it's unfair for you to portray the entire population of future doctors as greedy, heartless people.
      and as for "standing around a lot," i'm pretty sure that unless we're doing some crazy trauma surgery every day, what we do revolves around A LOT of thinking. i sure hope that you would want for yourself a doctor who thinks through every decision very carefully before anything is done.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:44 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      Really? You're standing around THINKING? Not so sure a doctor needs to spend several hours a day standing around in the hallway just thinking about stuff. Reading and talking maybe.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:29 | Report abuse |
    • N

      Ever been in an operating room, Martin? And I highly doubt you're around doctors 24/7 to understand when, where, and how decisions are being made. Or where and when those very docs you lambaste are actually studying. In fact, you're probably asleep during those hours.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:58 | Report abuse |
    • MMC

      And do you know WHY medical students are that way? Because most of us entered with the intention of helping people, healing people, and making the world a better place.

      However, after dealing with patients who abuse the system, complain about the cost of services they chose to receive and then don't pay any of their bill, hear patients threaten litigation for completely ridiculous reasons, and perform life-saving measures on "regulars" who come in every week for years on end without paying for the same procedures over and over, drugging and eating their lives away, you realize that MOST of the people you help are only going to go out and consume the world their entire lives and be a drain on society. Meanwhile the 60 year old military vets who have been productive members of society their entire lives, who raised children who are also productive members of society, come in once and DIE. OR come in once and you diagnose them with something horrific, of which they will DIE within a few months, if that.

      So when one gets to that point in his or her medical career and realizes that helping people is actually worse for the world and society as a whole, then choosing a particular field in medicine DOES become about the money.

      Also, we talk about our future salaries quite POSSIBLY because we realize that our future children can't go to college on our good looks or good intentions. We don't want our children and families to end up like most of our patients – scamming society on welfare and medicaid all their lives. So we HAVE to make money, and figure out how we are going to do it. Also, because we are, at that point, $100,000+ in debt, it's nice to think about a time when we don't have that huge burden hanging over our shoulders, because, unlike fully HALF (that's not hyperbole. that's the real number) of the patients to whom services are rendered at my university hospital, we *actually* intend to pay that money back.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:05 | Report abuse |
  12. Steve

    I will invariably be accused of "whining", but I seriously don't think most people understand what physicians experience. As a physician in my 9th and final year of residency, I have almost $500,000 debt and I'll be turning 40 next year. To anyone who believes that I am overpaid, I invite you to spend one day with me at my job. My day starts at 5 AM and I am generally finished by 10 or 11 PM. You might think I would get a good solid 5 hours of sleep before getting up to do it all over again, but I've got this little pager next to me that always rings the minute I hit REM sleep. I work 13 days straight, followed by a single day off (actually not a full day, more like 20 hours). I therefore work about 120 hours per week. For those of you working 40 hours a week, that's like going to work in the morning and working 8 hours, then doing it again, and then doing it again. THEN you get to go home and be kept up all night. Also consider that in my sleep deprived state I need to make split-second life and death decisions (more important decisions than "should I shoot or pass"). As if this isn't bad enough, if I make a SINGLE mistake, I could lose my license and never be allowed to practice again. Combine this with a no-vacation and no-sick-days-allowed mentality and I believe that most reasonable people should agree that physicians are not overpaid.
    The problem with our medical system is a lack of personal responsibility and a complete lack of self-care, as well as an expectation of immortality.

    May 1, 2012 at 21:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • joan

      I feel for you Steve. The whole residency system is a major error in my opinion, though you've lived it and would know more. Making a serious error is far too easy and expected with those hours! I don't understand how it is possible to do any learning after say the 80 hour mark. In fact it is probably doing damage in that whatever you learned before that does not take root. Speaking of root, it is my perception that grossly bloated salaries of the distant past probably resulted in the rise of the insurance industry. And yes as someone else wrote, I would not be surprised that doctor salaries are a small fraction of total cost considering those insurance industry clerks. But I believe that by LOWERING doctor salaries, it should hopefully over the very long run result in the demise of the insurance industry, but also result in caring people (read: non-money grubbing people) to enter the doctor profession. That is why I think doctor salaries were and still are a root of the issue.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:33 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I have to call foul on this one, Steve. This isn't human and you couldn't possibly work this much with an eye to detail the way you claim. Studies have shown this kind of sleep deprivation is similar to being drunk and is prohibited in Airline Pilots, Air-traffic controllers, and over-the-road haulers (Truck Drivers).

      Are you suggesting going to medical school makes one super-human and not subject to the physical limitations of life? Or, is that because our Pilots, ATCs, and Truck Drivers are lame? Of course they're lame, right? Doctors are super, right? More like narcissistic exaggerators, if you ask me.

      I've heard for years doctors work like this, and I don't buy it. It's not physically possible and I think exaggeration is a hallmark of a medical doctor.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:34 | Report abuse |
    • medschoolkid

      You don't have to buy it Brian but it is true. Recently they made a rule saying you couldn't work more than 18 hours straight I think. This is a practice all over the country for residents. And yes doctors are super. Whether you like it or not.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:43 | Report abuse |
    • FamilyMDinPittsburgh

      Brian, you're just plain wrong. That is the reality of what physicians have to endure. Not every week, but it certainly happens. And I don't see anywhere in Steve's post saying that he does that flawlessly without any ill effects. Last I checked, physicians are the second most likely profession to commit suicide, and they also have higher rates of depression and substance abuse than the average person.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:44 | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      Unfortunately, Brian he isn't lying. My dad is a doctor who went through it (he was actually so sleep deprived he fell asleep once while talking to someone).

      I have friends who are residents who go through the same thing. Is it healthy, no it isn't…But it's humanly possible while you might not believe it.

      I realize no one will convince you otherwise, but watch a surgery online or learn about it. For many…if you're a mm off, the guy can suffer irreversible bleeding or organ damage.

      The amount of training and knowledge to train a doctor is ENORMOUS. It's one of those things you won't understand unless you go through it. I'm not going to convince you to think otherwise but hopefully you'll broaden your perspective and not think this is all some conspiracy therapy.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:48 | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Brian isn't wrong on this. It's totally impossible to work this much and know which way is up or down.

      To believe doctors are "super," in this regard, medschoolkid, is patently a lie. It's the same as saying doctors can drink five liters of Vodka and not be drunk. I don't think so. This is brainwashed hype and I don't think this happens at all, or patients would be sacrificed left and right.

      As someone else mentioned, if you're on here, so you're not busy.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:50 | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      Mary read this:


      It even comes with primary, credible sources if you don't believe me.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:52 | Report abuse |
    • Lindsey

      Philip – please don't tell us you are using Wikipedia as a "credible" source. My students would get an automatic F- for using Wiki and they're in 8th grade.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:54 | Report abuse |
    • FamilyMDinPittsburgh

      Mary, why would you argue about something you clearly know nothing about? I'm a physician. I've personally worked 100+ hour weeks. You're wrong. There is no argument to be made.

      Is it safe? No. Do patients suffer? Yes. Hence why the ACGME (the governing body for medical education) has set a limit of working 80 hours per week AVERAGE OVER FOUR WEEKS. In other words, I can work for 120 hours one week, 40 the next, and 80 hours over each of the remaining two weeks and not violate the regulation.

      And that's only if your program follows the regulations. Many, many programs secretly lie about and under-report the numbers of hours worked by their physicians so that they don't get fined.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:58 | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      Lindsey: Wikipedia isn't.

      The primary sources they cite are. I was referring to those.

      May 1, 2012 at 21:59 | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Working this many hours in such a short time isn't possible. By that I mean NO ONE can make good judgments like this. No one that is human. You may (or not) be able to stand up straight this long, but you wouldn't know which way is up or down, much less make good medical decisions.

      There is a reason Truck Drivers and Pilots aren't allowed to do this. It's because this kind of sleep deprivation is very much like being overly drunk. If I remember correctly, it was medical scientists that performed the studies that proved working too many hours and not getting rest is the same as being smashed with alcohol.

      Are you guys saying doctors are immune to this? If so, maybe alcohol doesn't affect you either. Maybe cocaine doesn't affect you? I'm sorry, but doctors are human and cannot possible make good decisions after working this much.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:18 | Report abuse |
    • FamilyMDinPittsburgh


      You're the only person claiming that these types of working hours is safe. Every single other person commenting on the subject, including myself, is patently saying that is is NOT safe.

      Regardless, this is irrelevant. The fact remains that doctors work the hours of two jobs combined. Which by itself cuts the average wage in half from what you're seeing from the annual salary alone.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:27 | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      Lindsey: You're right. Humans can't...hence why they're trying to pass laws to change it. But maybe it's a testament as to why they did this in the first place. Doctors actually need to go through that training. I don't know what you're arguing, that doctors are making these hours up or they're not right...

      If the latter, then sure...valid claim but it is still happening because you need to force all that training into such a certain amount of residency years. If the former when all primary evidence states otherwise, then God forbid if our "teachers" are so short-sighted, I feel sad for the future generation of children.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:28 | Report abuse |
    • c s

      Steve – I take you at your word that you work 120 hours in a week. I hope never to have the misfortune of needing your services. I am sure that you try your best but how many people die because you are too tired? Something is severely wrong with our medical system if you must work 120 hours in a week. Not far from where I live, a nurse was driving home from work after working an overnight 12 1/2 hour shift and she fell asleep while driving. She went off the road and killed a girl. Unfortunately the same thing will happen to you while you are driving home. Humans have to have enough sleep in order to function properly. You are playing with dynamite and it will eventually explode.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:36 | Report abuse |
    • medschoolkid

      @Mary – The whole "super" thing was definitely sarcasm. Ease up a little.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:38 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      Bull. Doctors work part time.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:40 | Report abuse |
    • To Steve

      The system is crazy- I agree... But, that was you choice, right? What is the point of telling this true ( i know taht you are not making it up)horror story? What is the true purpose of your carrer? To compensate your " lost " years of youth with money making strategies in billing ? Or to become someone who can be proud of what you do FOR you patients?

      May 1, 2012 at 23:58 | Report abuse |
    • To Steve

      Tell about lack of self care or immorality to the child with ontological diagnosis...shame on you!

      May 2, 2012 at 00:05 | Report abuse |
  13. Derek

    This story makes no sense. That is not how insurance companies work. They pay the doctors directly ... they don't give the patients checks to give to the doctors. A claim would have had to have been submitted so clearly "Dave" was being billed for services. So all Dr. Peterson would have to do is send the bill to collections once that time has approached.

    Story makes no sense and it sounds like this situation is either made up or the truth was stretched.

    May 1, 2012 at 21:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Lindsey

    Doctors get paid too much. They do good work, but get paid far too much. I say bring in the cheap labor from overseas, just like the rest of America experienced.

    May 1, 2012 at 21:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      Exactly. A scientist with a PhD doesn't earn NEARLY as much as a doctor, so the argument about "higher pay for more schooling" doesn't hold water. When the patient is going broke due to offshoring and too much immigration, then the doctor has no right to continue charging such high prices and keeping out foreign doctors.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:37 | Report abuse |
    • medschoolkid

      The only thing keeping out foreign doctors is a series of tests to ensure that the education at foreign medical schools is sufficient for practicing in the US. Would you want a doctor to treat you who went to a shoddy med school in some 3rd world country?

      May 1, 2012 at 22:41 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      They are kept out by immigration law.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:48 | Report abuse |
    • Medical Student

      Have fun trying to explain your medical problems to a doctor who can't effectively communicate in English...

      May 1, 2012 at 22:59 | Report abuse |
    • WolfySilver42

      Neither does the whole peoples lives are in my hands arguement. A welder working on building a bridge that millions of people travel over only needs a certificate that shows he knows what he is doing, he doesn't even need to go to school if he has the skills and knowledge to pass the test. As for not wanting a Dr from overseas if he knew what he was doing I would much prefer him over the last Dr I saw who looked up my diagnosis on webmd in front of me. Surgeons and others that require a technical skill deserve their paychecks but the Dr's people actually interact with on a daily basis are far overpaid, considering a website can do your job minus writing the prescription. Nurses in my opinion are under paid since usually they know more then the Dr's do and actually seem competent. I agree with the fact that tuition is to high for doctors since most of them don't remember a thing from college and only learn from experience as a resident anyway. The problem is most doctors go into the field thinking they will be rich and are disappointed when they aren't living it up like people on wall street. If you doctors have such crummy jobs and are soooo smart why don't you quit and join the crooked people on wall street.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:59 | Report abuse |
    • N

      Lindsey, feel free to have your surgery done by the competent foreign doctors, some of which who can't accurately diagnose a heart attack because of the laxity of medical boarding in their respective countries.

      Something tells me though that, like every other American patient, when it comes to YOU, you want the best or you'll sue. Intriguing cognitive dissonance.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
  15. JB

    Steve Thank you, I'm a Physician Assistant. I think doctors on average are fairly compensated. I think about the 15 years of life they have to give up just to call them selves doctors, the amount of work that takes to get there and then the societal expectations.

    May 1, 2012 at 21:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      Of course you think you're fairly compensated. All overpaid people think that about themselves.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:36 | Report abuse |
    • MMC

      Doctors R Overpaid: Clearly you know little to nothing about this subject, as you don't even know that a physician assistant isn't the same thing as a doctor.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:14 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      If you examine my comment very closely, you will realize that I never said the thing you're arguing with.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:57 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      The argument of the years necessary to acquire competency is over played. In many professions it takes time to achieve if not total knowledge of the profession at least an adequate amount of skill to do the job. Even a humble college professor spends many hours and years researching his field and a good builder goes on learning as he works. The big difference, of course is the greater importance of health and the consequences of good or bad decisions by doctors. As I said in an earlier comment, the entire medical system is rife with overcharging and doctors are a part of it but not the central part.
      For those who want free market in medicine, the very idea is absurd. Can you imagine what it would take if I had to make several appointments with doctors to talk to them about what they are going to charge for my hernia operation. First of all, it would take months to get to at least three of them to see me, and second how do I judge their competence. Do I take the lowest bid or the highest? What happens is that my primary care physician says he has worked with Doctor Jones and he suggests that I go to him. And I do, without knowing how much it will cost, unless I put a belt to hold in my hernia and go shopping.

      May 2, 2012 at 09:19 | Report abuse |
    • WolfySilver42

      Sorry Paul I must disagree a welder helping put a bridge together has worse consequences for a bad mistake then a doctor does. If a doctor messes up he kills his patient if someone building a bridge messes up 100 people could die.

      May 3, 2012 at 00:38 | Report abuse |
  16. TA

    Malpractice insurance does not cost nearly as much as one might think. For most medical professionals the costs are less than $18,000 per year, OB/GYN and general surgeons being an exception (but they're often paid significantly more as well).

    This is an article from American Medical News that outlines average malpractice insurance costs.


    So, I think that medical professionals bring home significant amount of money, even after all costs are paid.

    May 1, 2012 at 22:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      Yes, that's why they all drive luxury cars and live in luxury houses. It's not because they're poor.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:38 | Report abuse |
    • medschoolkid

      @Doctor R Overpaid – What do you do for a living? Apparently you think you are underpaid and are just as highly educated and talented as most doctors.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:43 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      I am a scientist. Doctors are mere technicians. You are an arrogant fool if you think doctoring requires "talent". There is no reason for medical school either. It would be better if doctors would just hire apprentices. All you need is to pass a test.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:46 | Report abuse |
    • Medical Student

      In addition to malpractice, we give up a decade of the "best years of our lives" to learn everything that there is about our profession. As a student, I currently pull 70 hours a week of studying and will be starting out in my profession with $250k in debt. Please, tell me, what other profession starts you out like this?

      The medical system as a WHOLE is broken. 30% of costs goes to administration while pharmaceuticals and board members take a ton of money home. Our whole medical system is based on reactive medicine, not preventative. Want something to be angry about? How about the inability of Congress to do their job correctly and actually do something about medical reform? How about overweight people causing $190 Billion in extra medical costs? (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47211549/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/study-obesity-adds-billion-health-costs/#.T6CgOp9YvOW)

      Doctors are part of the problem? Yes. But you can't effectively change anything without tackling the problem as a whole.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:52 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      It is not reasonable to think that you should be paid more simply because you chose to borrow a lot of money. Your patients do not have the wherewithall to cover you in that respect. You should have done the math before you agreed to pay the price. There is no reason for med school to cost that much. They're only doing it because YOU are willing to pay. That's your bad, not mine. You will end up holding the bag on that one.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:06 | Report abuse |
    • WolfySilver42

      @medstudent how is it the best years of your life? I just got past my 20's and I gotta tell ya they sucked. The best years of your life can happen at any time it's not limited to a certain time frame. If it sucks that much why did you do it? Because people would respect you and you'd make lots of money? Well respect is a 2 way street you have to respect your patients before they will respect you sorry to burst your bubble but nothing automatically gets you respect. If your being a doctor because you wanted to make a lot of money you chose the wrong career, but that's your mistake not ours.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:12 | Report abuse |
    • TA

      I happen to agree with DRO on the cost of medical education. It seems that it cost so much simply because the student are willing to pay that much (or the companies are willing to loan that much) in anticipation of future high income. I think it's related to supply-and-demand, and is not necessarily proportional to the direct expenses of the educational process.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:14 | Report abuse |
    • Medical Student

      @ Doctors R Overpaid

      I did the math before I went to medical school and continued to pursue it because I saw a family friend pass away in front of my eyes at the ripe age of 10 from a berry aneurysm. I know med school is outrageous priced, but I went through it because I wanted to help people (stupid and naive answer, but its the truth). Am I happy about paying this much for schooling? No. To be honest, I'd be quite happy making around $100K a year without having to deal with all this nonsense.

      @ WolfySilver42

      So I might have overspoken. I mean to say we're giving up a decade when we're in our "prime." Why did I do it? Read above. It wasn't about the money for me.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:32 | Report abuse |
  17. Doctors R Overpaid

    I think it's hilarious the way some of you are using the word "deadbeat" to describe people who don't want to overpay for stuff. You are probably the same people who thought the high house prices were justified, and sacrificed your family's security to prove how grown-up you were. Health care is in a bubble. It is going to pop. There will be a lot of doctors in 10 years with huge debt and low salaries.

    May 1, 2012 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      No I'm afraid not. Look at the math. The baby-boomers are aging and requiring more and more health care. Read a few articles sometime. There is a projected massive shortage of physicians in the next ten years. The health insurance bubble may pop, but doctors aren't going anywhere. Medicare is paying for these baby-boomers.

      May 1, 2012 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
    • Medical Student

      Doctors R Overpaid:

      I've read some of your comments...I think it's hilarious some of the things you've said...because either A) You didn't do well on your MCAT/Undergrad and couldn't make it into medical school and B) Would prefer to return to 19th century medicine where doctors take on apprentices and hack away at things.

      Sarcasm aside, there's absolutely no reason to be attacking people on this issue. Can we at least have a FRIENDLY and EDUCATED discussion about something for once in this country?

      May 1, 2012 at 22:57 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      Do you think all these baby boomers are going to be millionaires who are willing and able to pay like hundreds of thousands apiece for your services? There are an awful lot of folk getting schooled in medicine these days, and an awful lot of Baby Boomers going broke. Stock market? Nope. House profits? Nope. Savings? No, Baby Boomers were never big on saving.

      Where are you going to get all this money, kid?

      May 1, 2012 at 22:59 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      The $3 trillion health care industry ins't sustainable – not even close. I think this bubble will pop with a loug bang. Doctors will still be there, yes, but they won't be making more than $85,000/yr, just like the rest of Earthbound doctors.

      No matter my opinions, and they are negative with a dose of resentment, the bubble will pop. America simply cannot afford $3 trillion a year in health care. I think the amount of spending will naturally drop off a cliff, perhaps by half or more.

      In an economic revolution (or bubble), it is the wealthy (i.e., doctors) that have the most to worry about.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:11 | Report abuse |
    • medschoolkid

      @Doctors R Overpaid – I don't care where the money comes from but it is simple supply and demand economics. The demand for doctors will continue to rise and the supply will not ever be able to meet it. Foreign doctors are the few that actually can get a visa quite easily. So lose that argument.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:12 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      medschool kid:

      "I don't care where the money comes from". The SUPPLY of money comes from your patients. The DEMAND of money comes from you. It seems that a day doesn't go by when I meet another person going to school for nursing or doctoring. Besides, like I said, all you have to do is pass a test to be a doctor. Please don't be naive and think that you can somehow extort the world in to paying you an exorbitant fee for something that could just as easily be done by someone else.

      When government intervention is taken out of the equation (Medicare going broke, resistance to mandated insurance, etc), the supply of labor/services always keeps up with the demand.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:18 | Report abuse |
    • N

      Doctors R Overpaid - when government is taken out of the equation, society can't pay for emergencies. At which point you'll either have less competent doctors, or doctors who refuse to work emergencies to people who can't pay out of pocket.

      In other words, in your "doom scenario" for docs, most middle class people either die or have increased morbidity. Meanwhile quite a few docs will see their incomes go UP, as rich people are willing to pay more and more for competent doctors.

      In other words, your understanding of supply and demand is nonsensical.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:51 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      The cost of emergency care did not become unaffordable until AFTER the government decided to tell us all that we do not have to pay for it. It will be "free" (i.e., paid for indirectly). It used to be that doctors would never require payment up front. That's a new practice, and a result of artificial demand.

      Why do you think that doctor's salaries can go up if middle-class patients go away? Rich people will be willing to pay MORE just becuase there aren't any other patients in the office? That is illogical.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:19 | Report abuse |
  18. Moby49

    Underpaid in what respect? Compared to CEO's and congressmen who are worthless, yes. Compared to a fireman that risks his life everyday saving people and property, hell no.

    May 1, 2012 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • N

      While I love firemen, they actually don't do that everyday. While an ER doc actually does.

      But to your point, firemen AND doctors are underpaid relative to the craft that they sell.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:46 | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Firemen don't have to get expensive education and undergo years of mentally grueling, spirit-killing schooling and training.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:32 | Report abuse |
  19. Doctors R Overpaid

    Dear overpaid doctors:

    You are receiving the benefit of an economic bubble. Just as realtors were once overpaid, so are you. The health care industry will go the way of the real estate industry, the banking industry, the Beanie Baby industry, and every other bubble field ever in all of history.

    May 1, 2012 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • N

      Once the "bubble" bursts, docs will simply do what all other markets do, and sell their services to the highest bidder. No one can compete with medicine in the free market because demand for emergent/urgent medical care is one of the most inelastic demands there is. No amount of "supply" would change that.

      You'd better not hope for what you're currently wishing for, bud.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:48 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      The highest bidder will be able to pay less when the bubble bursts. That's kind of how bursts work.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:21 | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      You fail to realize that absent some unfathomable scientific innovation, the demand for physicians can only increase. People are only living longer because medical science is keeping them alive, and are now far more likely to suffer from chronic health problems. The population is aging and increasing. Real estate and medicine are apples and oranges. You can always count on schmucks with no sense of responsibility taking out big loans for a house they can't really afford to keep up with the neighbors as long as there is credit to be had, but no one ever gets a heart transplant for vanity purposes.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:30 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      You can always count on schmucks with no sense of responsibility taking out big loans for a degree they can't really afford to keep up with the neighbors as long as there is credit to be had, but no one ever pays more money than they will ever have for a heart transplant (unless someone else is being asked to foot the bill).

      Yes, there is a limit to the reasonable amount of money that should be paid to keep a person alive indefinitely. No, I don't think "heart transplants" should be on that list. That is ridiculously expensive, on-the-edge type of care. We cannot expect to live in a world where we can expect free heart transplants. And doctors should not expect to live in a world where society actually forks over that kind of money to them. People will eventually die. We don't need to guarantee a million dollars worth of health care in attempt to prevent that.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:55 | Report abuse |
  20. The truth

    Are you kidding! $150,000 is not that much money. I am a bartender in Vegas, I have no formal education only a HS diploma. I made a little more than $100k last year. Who do you want making medical decisions, a person with 12 years of education, or me. I ain't that smart, but I pick the smart guy. They are not over paid. Don't be a hater because you don't have what takes to go to Med school. Peace and love.

    May 1, 2012 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      Anyone going to medical school today is mathematically challenged. They should be able to see that the price is too high, and their patients will not have the funds to pay it off for them.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:12 | Report abuse |
    • N

      Eh, in this economy it's not awful. But the argument that doctors are "overpaid" is nonsense.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:45 | Report abuse |
  21. MedStudentTexas

    This question is practically ageless, doesn't it seem? Practically speaking, short of becoming an actual physician, anyone that believes physicians are overpaid will never, ever believe that they aren't. It doesn't matter what enlightening articles, comments, interviews, or eyewitness accounts are ever presented. So that's my end goal; however I do want to make something quite clear to what I fear a vast majority of people who assume that my future profession is "bloated," "overpaid," or "greedy."

    These are unarguable, concrete, verifiable facts.

    For a four year PUBLIC school education, assuming you graduate in four years: 14,870$/yr = 59,480$ (Year 2010)

    For a four year medical school education, once again assuming you graduate in 4 years: 28,685$/yr =114,736$ (Year 2010 via AAMC)

    That'll be 175,000$, and please, no checks. This also does not take into account interest rates, over at least 8 years for undergraduate work and at least 4 years for medical school. (Assuming you start making payments in residency) (Average resident salary is about 42,000/yr)

    The current LOWEST interest rate for government loans for undergraduate subsidized loans is 6.8%. The LOWEST rate for graduate loans (in this case medical school) is also 6.8%.

    I'm not a CPA, so I won't try and mire through the math, but it doesn't take even a college degree to so how over at least 8 years, 60,000$ for undergraduate work, and 4 years for medical school, you soon have a HUGE debt load.

    Now that we've got past that little bit...

    Medical school. Best decision I ever made in my life, hands down. Does it suck? Unequivocally HELL YES. I do it because I love it, not for a future pay check. Think about have a test every two weeks over anywhere from 1200 powerpoint slides of material for a good unit, to 2400 slides for a rough one. Also, keep in mind that ONE slide can have anywhere from 15 to 50 words, and the slides with only words are the easy ones. For biochemistry, think about the in the depth intricate workings of a single step in KREBs cycle, or glycholysis, or protein synthesis, or de novo lipogenesis. Are we done yet, HAHA absolutely not! Think about, even as a first year mind you, a minimum mandatory clinic involvement time of once a week, 4 hours a day, sounds like a breeze right? How about the fact you just took a test, and you're trying to study for another... Oh wait, and your SOAP note or clinic note. Oh and how about that volunteering, you know, the stuff you actually love doing? Sprinkle some of that in there too.


    So will squeeze some "life" in there on the weekends, maybe even Saturday AND Sunday... oh wait, you have another test coming up on Monday... yeah so probably no "life" on Sunday, just kidding...

    So you make it all the way through, you take on of the most difficult test series that has ever existed in the history of mankind, STEP I, STEP 2 (both parts) and STEP 3 if you're looking at family Med. (Each test is about 500-1400$ out of pocket and range from 8-9 hours, per attempt) Lets also assume that after an average of say oh... 300+ hours of studying over a month for these tests, you pass them on the first attempt!

    Then you have residency, yay making real money and not living off loans anymore! A whole 42,000/yr! Granted, you're at least 26-27 by this point, so the odds of you having a family are fairly substantial. So you have to live, pay loan minimums, car payment, mortgage/rent, utilities, board exams, equipment (my stethoscope was 125$, my BP cuff 250$), money for your family, and some how save a little bit for maintaining your sanity. Oh, and lucky you! You're mandated to ONLY work up to 80 hours a week! Phew, and I was worried about working to much!

    As a resident, you get to essentially be the attending's... well.. I'll be polite... "slave," and take call and all the really crappy cases that he/she doesn't want deal with, but its cools, it's only 80 hours out of the week that you have to do this. That's only roughly 12 hours a day, 7 days week. You can TOTALLY do that for 3-8 years.

    Assuming you don't burn out, commit suicide, or decide that you hate mankind and self-implode, you graduate and you become a physician. Joking aside, quite the amazing, and humbling experience.

    Now you make the big boy bucks! But first you have to pay off those pesky loans which by now after accrued interest are somewhere in the ballpark of oh, lets say 300,000$. Lets say you decide to go with Emergency Medicine, because like me you're an adrenalin junky. You'll start at a very handsome 250,000$, give or take. Sounds great, but don't forget to takes the taxes off the top, minus 85,000$. So you're left with 165,000$. Still a very, very good living. Lets start paying off those loans. By now you're mid 30's. Let's take a nice round number off that 165k like 65k and put that towards those loans. You're left 100k. Still quite nice. Now lets also assume that you, like me, are interested in working in rural Texas because CLEARLY that's where the monies at! And thats all I care about! So you probably have to worry about mal-practice insurance since you're working at small hospitals or even possibly a small private ER (yes they do exist). That'll be 30,000$ please. So you're left with 70,000$. You have a family and you're finally making money, but you're fairly financially savy and decide to be conservative with 160,000$ home. That'll be 20,000$ for a years worth of mortgage and taxes please...

    So, from 250,000, to 50,000 in no time flat, still 50,000/yr is a lot more than most in this country make sadly.

    However, I gave up my 20's, have a much higher risk of depression, substance abuse, suicide, and divorce. I work 40-65 hour weeks depending on my location. I have to deal with people who don't appreciate my time or my work, and I have to keep a smile on my face, while I do it. If I make a mistake and someone loses their life for it, the financial ramifications are nauseating; but worse, I have to live, eat, breath, and sleep with that on my conscience. It also gets to be me that tells Timmy's parents that we did everything we could to save him, but we just couldn't. I get to juggle 20-40 patients a shift and try to keep from getting TOO involved in my patients emotionally, lest I break down or make a mistake in which case someone might die.

    And to top it all off, I get to explain to my wife why I can't make it to my sons/daughters birthday, recital, sports event, school event, etc.

    Yeah. You want all that responsibility for 50,000 to maybe even 100,000 a year? Most don't. Worse off, even they did, they couldn't. Medicine would eat most human beings a live, ask any doctor who you know does it for the money how happy they are, there's a reason they get into administration, consulting, research, or just flat out get out of medicine.

    This career is undeniably one of the most mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally taxing professions that exist. Before you want to spout off that we're overpaid. Think about the sacrifices I made, and make every day to ensure that when you dial 911, you receive the life saving care you need, whether you can pay or not.

    May 1, 2012 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      Strong work doctor.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:26 | Report abuse |
    • N

      Well said.

      And the easiest argument to make is simply to ask what the market rate would be for a doctors services during an emergent situation. Generally any rational person will realize that the amount paid for an emergent service (particularly a life saving one) is contingent on a doctor vastly underselling his craft to the extreme benefit of his or her patient. Period.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:44 | Report abuse |
    • MMC

      You had me at "Did med school suck? Unequivocably HELL yes."

      May 2, 2012 at 00:19 | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Law school is a mentally grueling experience (though a fraction of what med school is, I would suspect) and society treats lawyers like ****, but you doctors have us beat. You often make more than we do, but you deserve it. Keep fighting the good fight, and please don't blame attorneys for the malpractice BS. The vast majority of us aren't unethical ambulance chasers and the claims we take are not frivolous. We have to pay malpractice insurance too because of all the greedy, self-absorbed SOB's out there who think it is okay to take money away from someone who has helped you because, you know, you are rich and they need the money more than you. I don't know how you do it, doctor. At a certain point, I think I'd just let them die.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:26 | Report abuse |
  22. be greatful

    I am a music teacher. I have a 4 year degree and am required to further my education in order to continue to work in a classroom. I graduated with over $20,000 in student loans and stand to become further in debt in order to keep my credentials up to date. I am in 6 different schools and see over 300 students a week. I make under $40,000 a year. Want to talk about under paid? All those Dr's should just get in line.

    May 1, 2012 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The truth

      Sorry dude, but that ain't like Med school is it?

      May 1, 2012 at 23:33 | Report abuse |
    • N

      Yo, music teacher, what happens when you play a wrong note? Does someone die? Does someone sue you? Are you expected to be at work over 80 hours a week for much of your young life while simultaneously expected to be perfect at all times, or face the threat of litigation, or worse, an error with dire consequences?

      Pay is for value, not because someone "feels bad" for how you work. Like I said before, relative to the market, Doctors are UNDERPAID. You, however, are not.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:41 | Report abuse |
    • the dad

      first of all a music degree is a joke. Easy classes. Try actually taking courses that are academically challenging and beneficial to the advancement of society. You deserve your 40 grand a yr because you arent doing something that is of extreme value to society

      May 1, 2012 at 23:49 | Report abuse |
  23. medschoolkid

    I give up. No matter how many valid arguments I try to present there are so many people who just hate the money that doctors make. For the record: ANYONE can be a doctor. Just take the required pre-reqs, take the MCAT, and apply. You actually don't even have to have a bachelors degree, just take enough hours in the right classes. So if you are all so jealous try your hand at it. Nobody is preventing you from becoming a doctor except yourself.

    May 1, 2012 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      That argument you just gave is the proof that doctor's pay will be going down. Anyone can do it. There is NO limit to the supply of doctors. While I have no inclination to join a bubble field (and I already have my own career), there are plenty of kids doing it right now.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:22 | Report abuse |
    • N

      Actually, no. There is a limit - you're only dealing with the highest crop of people. When you want someone to do your cardiac bypass graft effectively, you're going to want someone who is really good at it. If "anyone" can do it, then why don't you take your chances on "anyone"? Do you think the American consumer would?

      Doctors R Overpaid is making a strawman argument and forgetting the law of unintended consequences. Which is necessary to make his inane and ultimately meritless points.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:39 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      Doctors are not the highest crop of people. That is pure arrogance. On average, they are people of average intelligence. They do not have a better work ethic than a person with a PhD or similar degree in a different people. Your reasoning seems to be "they get paid more; they must be better people". No. Drug dealers often get paid more.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:24 | Report abuse |
    • LouAZ

      No thanks. I'll keep my job as a piano player in a cat house . . . generally meet a nicer group of people there.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:29 | Report abuse |
    • medschoolkid2

      Bro, you realize all these ridiculous people on here, DRO being the prime example, are just trolls? Stop feeding the trolls 🙂

      May 2, 2012 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
  24. Chris

    If you don't like what you are charged–negotiate with your doctor! The question becomes....what are you willing to pay to (for example) save your leg from gangrene if the surgeon can fix it? What is your leg worth to you? $100. $500. $1,000. What is your life worth if you have colon cancer? How much would you pay then? Suppose the surgeon comes to you with medical facts...."You have this type of cancer. Most people with your condition live this long without surgery. If I operate, most people live x years longer. What is that worth to you?"

    The transition from the "doctor-patient" relationship to "healthcare provider-consumer" forever changed the dynamic of medicine forever. Outside agencies (insurance companies, hospitals, the government) seek to reduce the beautiful science and art to a simple business transaction. The health care system we have now is simply the byproduct of that interference.

    So I ask. What is it worth to you?

    May 1, 2012 at 23:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doctors R Overpaid


      So how come food isn't unaffordable and grocers aren't overpaid? If you don't pay, you starve, right? Grocers are not overpaid because the government doesn't require people to purchase food insurance through their employers. Hence, the demand is not artificially high.

      The government WILL stop doing that because people are going broke, watching $1,000/month come straight out of their paycheck for mandated health insurance. It's ridiculous. In the meanwhile, there are so many kids in med school right now.

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

      Yes, and when the government stops paying doctors, doctors will stop treating everyone, and only treat the highest bidder, particularly for emergency care.

      At that point, you'll really be saying "Doctors R Overpaid", but you'll have no recourse, because it'll be a free market system.

      Contrary to popular belief, doctors are quite UNDERPAID relative to their market worth.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:36 | Report abuse |
    • The truth

      Don't bother man, some people won't appreciate you until their drink runs dry : ). Or until they need patched up Doc. Not everybody can mix a drink like me ; ). But, I'm no Dr I just mix drinks.

      Peace and love, y'all!

      May 1, 2012 at 23:39 | Report abuse |
    • TA

      DRO – you seem to throw the numbers as well. Where those $1,000 came from? Take the "Romneycare" in Massachusetts. The government "requires" you to spend a minimum of $650 per YEAR on a family insurance in order not to get fined. That's less than $55 per month. The fine is about $400 (again, per year). Also if your income is lower than certain state minimum (if I recall correctly it's $400,000 for a family of four), the minimum requirements are waved completely. In other words, if you bring home less than $3000 per month, you are not required to buy a an insurance with a minimum cost of $55 per month, and if you bring more and refuse to buy ANY insurance, you will "pay" the government $35 per month to cover people that want to buy an insurance, but cannot for some reason. CPAs may correct me on the numbers. I did MA taxes for someone more than a year ago, and the amounts may have changed. I really fail to see why is this "unfair" if it keeps people that actually want insurance healthier. It's less than the amount asked in some of those old "Save the children" commercials.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:43 | Report abuse |
    • TA

      I meant that the fine in MA is eliminated at $40,000, not $400,000 :). Again, correct me if I am wrong.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:45 | Report abuse |
    • MedStudentTexas

      It just saddens me that so much of the beauty, art, and love of being a physician gets tainted with money. Money is a very unfortunate avenue that so many fortunate things have to take, and I hate it. Granted, I understand that there are a lot of physicians out there that abuse the system, or live lavishly, over the top, and unnecessary lives of excess, but it seems like they're the only ones that ever get any of the attention. It's not the family medicine physician that works 65 to 80 hours a week and is taking home a 100k a year after seeing 50 patients a day 5 days a week. Its the physicians with doctors without boarders that see some of the most hellish events in life and get paid something like 3,000$ a month to simply try and cover their expenses like travel, tools, instruments, and communication with their families back home. Its just so frustrating that these people don't get the attention that these kinda articles get.

      May 1, 2012 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
    • Reader

      Chris, try " to negotiate" when you have an acute illness ... Pain, fever, bleeding, inability to move....miscarage for example..fear to loose the fetus or you own life.... This whole concept of negotiation is totally immoral....

      May 2, 2012 at 00:12 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      N: When the government stops paying doctors, people will go back to the days of choosing a facility with a price sheet, and going there when they need to. You shop for the care BEFORE the emergency happens. No, doctors with empty waiting rooms are not going to somehow cause the price of care to get bid up.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:30 | Report abuse |
  25. The truth

    When you need a good one you will not complain, believe me I know. Do no harm...I like that.

    May 1, 2012 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Reader

      Yeah, because you are under the gun of the extortion

      May 2, 2012 at 00:14 | Report abuse |

    Doctors R Overpaid:

    Please stop flaming. Do something called "research" before you open your uneducated mouth:
    1. PhD's can't be compared to doctors. "Research" the time taken for a PhD (~6 years), then "Research" the time taken for a medical degree (4 years post-graduate + 3-8 years residency and fellowship). Research is a powerful tool for the ignorant.
    2. You have no concept of the hours doctors put in. It depends on specialty, but generally they are working quite a bit more than you. How do I know? Because my girlfriend going through surgery has been pulling 32 hour shifts. She gets 2 days off a month. What are your hours again? Guarantee in dollars per hour you are making more than her.
    3. The "government" (state? federal? municipal? of course you have no idea) is not forcing society to "shovel" huge amounts of money into the medical profession. If anything, Once again, google is a powerful tool for solving ignorance.
    4. At present, the Affordable Care Act has not come into effect. Meaning no one is forced to buy medical insurance. Once again, please think before you spout out.
    5. I've worked in the legal side of medicine, and I can tell you know very little about the field.

    There is a legitimate debate to be had here. But the flamers don't help. At the core are two forces- our desire for quality care, and society's desire to acquire that care for its members at low cost. The tradeoff is how much quality were are willing to sacrifice for cost, and whether the value-added of a high-quality doctor is worth the money that could be put into other areas (schools, roads, military, etc.). We have a tendency to discount quality for others, but demand it for ourselves. Sure- bring in the overseas Nigerian doctor who can barely speak English for those Medicaid patients... just not for me! Yet we demand low premiums, and expect the best care.

    So really, as we debate, the better question to ask is not "are doctors in general overpaid," but rather "if I was having a life-altering surgery done, would I want the guy who graduated with a 3.9 GPA, and who was in the 85th percentile on the MCAT, or would I want the guy who graduated with a 3.2 GPA and was in the 30th percentile?" The next question: am I willing to pay current salaries to get the former, or would I prefer lower premiums and get the latter?

    May 1, 2012 at 23:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LouAZ

      The only way you SMARTER THAN ANYONE ELSE ON THE PLANET Doctors would think that they could "work" a 32 hour shift is if they want MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. You Doctors are full of cr@p and YOU ARE DANGEROUS TO THE PUBLIC !

      May 2, 2012 at 00:22 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      Yet another doctor who is mad because he wants everyone to worship him and wants to be rich, but they don't and ain't gonna be. Doctors are going down.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:31 | Report abuse |
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      Oh, I forgot to mention one thing: The state and federal governments combined are forcing me to buy health insurance through my employer. They've been doing that across this country for the past 20 years. There is no family health insurance plan that can be purchased for less than $1,000/month, except for the ones that don't cover anything. Waste of mulah.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:41 | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      Hey Lou, You may want to relax a little before you have a stroke and have to call on one of those pompous, greedy, buffoon doctors to save your life with their snake oil and witchcraft. Just an idea.

      Doctors R Overpaid,

      we've all been to high school. Everyone knows the man is simply trying to keep you down, by helping you live longer.

      You sound like you hate tort laws, not doctors. Doctors don't drive the cost of healthcare up, insurance companies and constantly getting sued by lazy and/or opportunistic dregs of our society does. You seem to have a classic case of hating-the-player-not-the-game. That one's a freebie.

      May 2, 2012 at 02:50 | Report abuse |
    • Tiger

      LouAZ, you think residents/doctors get paid by the hour? They don't work 32-hour shifts or 80+ hours a week so they can make more money; they do it because that's what the profession dictates.

      May 2, 2012 at 05:39 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      To Doctor Flame –

      You say Ph.D.s can't be compared to medical doctors, and you have it backwards. Ph.D.'s are real scientists and doctors are just simple technicians that borrow the hard work others (like Ph.D.s) have done.

      If doctors were so great, why do we still have sickness and disase. Name the last disease a doctor has "cured" or rid this world of, please. Doctors are lame technicians that never really rid the world of disease – they simply smack the disease around a bit with medicines that Ph.D.s have designed.

      Doctors use diagnostic testing that Ph.D.s have developed.

      Doctors use diagnostic imaging that Ph.D.s have developed.

      Doctors use hospitals that construction workers have built with their own hands.

      Doctors use medical equipment that B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.s have developed.

      Doctors use electricity brought to them by electrical engineers (some with Ph.D.s) manning the power grid and nuclear plants.

      Doctors don't do ANYTHING on their own, but you'd not know this if you talk to doctors, because it is the "poor little me" doctor who "has sacrificed EVERYTHING" to be a doctor that is at the center of the universe.

      Doctors as self-loving, self-absorbed, cogs in the health care wheel that are narcissistically convinced they created heavan and earth. It's a GOD complex like no other.

      Technician cogs are all that doctors are – then they hype their profession into oblivian and pretent that they do EVERYTHING single-handedly.

      May 2, 2012 at 08:02 | Report abuse |
  27. Maya

    I don't know where the Bureau of Labor Statistics gets its statistics. $130,000 average salary for lawyers? On what planet? Try $50,000-$60,000 nationwide. I can buy $130,000 average if they only surveyed attorneys employed by medium and large law firms, but a lot of attorneys work for the government, public interest, and small firms, and they don't make anywhere near that much. In some places, public defenders start out at less than $40k a year. The media has created this myth that all lawyers are fat cats in expensive suits who own big houses and fast cars. That just isn't the reality. It's a load of BS.

    May 2, 2012 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. LouAZ

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha ! ! ! This is all so funny to see the "I'm a Doctor, and . . ." comments about their pay and the lousy Govt. and the cost of Malpractice. I hope the Repub/TPers win the next election . . . then you will be paid with CHICKENS !

    May 2, 2012 at 00:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doctors R Overpaid

      Exactly. If they hate Medicare so much, then why do they agree to take the insurance? They are making a big old profit off that gravy train.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:37 | Report abuse |
  29. lulu

    What Dave did was unethical, but it doesn't really reflect on the pay of physicians in general, other than how many such incidents do they have to factor into their overall cost of doing business. How much does a retail business have to assume will be lost to shoplifting? In other businesses, how many customers will not pay on time or in full ever? This sort of problem is unfortunately widespread, not something reserved for doctors.

    By the way, if you own a small medical business, getting hospitals to pay on time can be equally annoying.

    May 2, 2012 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Doctors R Overpaid

    The type of response you can expect from doctor supports:

    – before you open your uneducated mouth
    – tool for the ignorant.
    -You have no concept
    – you have no idea
    – tool for solving ignorance.
    – please think before you spout out.
    – I can tell you know very little about the field.

    Can anyone identify which of the commentators on this board are the "crop people" (I mean crop of all people, I mean cream of the crop)?

    May 2, 2012 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thank you, Doctors

      what's your problem with doctors? Nobody is forcing you to pay them to heal you. Are you just jealous of their noble profession. Do you envy their hectic life? Do you envy them sacrificing their 20's and 30's, the prime of one's youth? Do you envy them when they miss spending holidays and birthdays with their families in order to take care of patients? A doctor is a human being who has dedicated his whole life to help other humans. No money, no riches in the world is enough to compensate for what a doctor is giving up in his life to be a doctor. I wonder to what extent you would give up your life and comfort to help another person.

      May 2, 2012 at 01:34 | Report abuse |
  31. larry5

    Well, if Doctors don't like their pay now just wait until Obamacare. I see a big pay cut coming. More hours and regulations, too. The student loan problem is going to get worse and making room for illegals and affirmative action students under what ever politically correct name they come up with will continue to make things worse and more expensive.

    May 2, 2012 at 00:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. shocked monkey

    When you're laying on the table, heart stopped, chest cracked open like a floorboard in an abandoned house, ask yourself; 'Do I really care how much they pay this doctor?' and 'Do I want the BEST surgeon, or just some guy who could pass a test?'.

    When disasters strike and a small wound, like a broken hand, can compound quickly into shock, do you want a doctor, or a carpenter?

    It's easy to condemn what someone makes when you currently place no value in their service, but when you need them, only the most committed are there. 5 A.M. going to work you could care less what a surgeon sacrificed, but when you're on the table with a piece of your dashboard in your head, you hope he did his homework.

    Doctors should be among the highest paid people in the world, not because they get the educational marathon award, but because they heal us. They keep your kids sniffles from becoming pneumonia, or diagnose that blockage in grandma's heart. They keep the things we love alive. No banker, carpenter, fisherman, cop, lawyer, or athlete does, but who cares how much they make, right? They earned it, unlike those selfish doctors.

    Some of you could use a perspective adjustment. Time will offer one. A doctor will very likely one day be offering you advice about your health that will affect your future, and how much future you have left. You may then hope he or she is the best, and not distracted or disgruntled about some silly construct (money) , created to keeps us as slaves.

    May 2, 2012 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jules999

      Perfectly said!

      May 2, 2012 at 02:25 | Report abuse |
  33. MS2 Trollololol

    Face it: If you aren't in the profession then you don't likely have a basic understanding of how doctors are trained or why health care economics seem absurd. The average American can't make healthy decisions for themselves, and many don't even care to try. Even I, after two years of medical school, cleared countless hurdles to get here and don't even know if I'll spend five or maybe eight more years in residency +/- fellowship. It's complicated and, according to the majority of your comments, wildly misunderstood. Professional development aside, health care providers in general should supply guidance, resources and intervention for those in need, and according to priorities consistent with well-established social contract validated by volunteerism. What I find interesting is the general lack of personal responsibility and exaggerated role of government in what should come naturally to any human: Making healthy choices to avoid unhealthy consequences of risky behavior! Patients who see doctors as mechanics and expect Cadillac service will find no "loaner" car waiting for them when some indolent pathological process eventually catches up with them.

    I only know of two classmates who came to medical school chasing wealth, as demonstrated by their choosing residency programs according to anticipated salaries without regard for intrinsic skill value. The best and the most of us are drawn to medicine by a visceral urgency that few other pursuits expose. Naturally, there are sacrifices made along the way for which no company insures, and which inspire a mute tolerance for the warped sense of social justice evident in so many of these comments. Protesting the "cost of healthcare" is absurd, and so is anyone who expects to purchase health from physicians as if hospitals were shopping malls. By such logic, the only product in demand is perceived value in health care transactions, for which very few of us may EVER be qualified to appraise.

    May 2, 2012 at 01:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thank you, Doctors

      Your last sentence speaks for a million words.

      May 2, 2012 at 01:49 | Report abuse |
    • Tiger

      Thank you for your insightful and practical commentary.

      May 2, 2012 at 05:58 | Report abuse |
  34. Mike

    I have a few relatives that are addicted to prescription medication. I fail to see the point in feeling any sympathy for an industry that has absolutely failed to police itself. They recommend drugs from a company that ran a concentration camp during WW II, IG Farben (now know as Bayer), they were also caught spreading the AIDS virus in hemophiliac medication. Getting paid on the slide by pharmaceuticals to push harmful medications because it will make you return to see the doctor (way to drug up our country). Historically, during any revolution, they are the first ones hung or beheaded (that should inspire someone to poison). Yeppers, a doctor is underpaid. Let's not forget about those "Oxytots", nothing like drugging up mothers with highly addictive medication so that a new wing to a hospital can be built just to accommodate the patients that the other half of the hospital drugged up. Let's also not forget the Psychiatry field. Telling our courts that people are mentally ill when they're addicted to meds (they're not going to bite the hand that gifts them... As in Pharma). Let's not forget about the constant medicare and medicaid fraud that goes on... Again, what are we paying doctors for?

    May 2, 2012 at 02:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      You are paying doctors to suture you back together when you get into a car wreck. You are paying doctors to perform open heart surgery so you don't die. You are paying doctors to give you the right combo of chemo and radiation when you have tumors spreading all over your body.

      As for Bayer: after WWII all German patents and chemical companies came under US control. Thus the Americans took over Bayer and its various products. The company directors during WWII were convicted at Nuremberg. And yes they accidentally spread HIV (the AIDS virus as you incorrectly call it) before the medical community even knew what HIV was.

      May 2, 2012 at 03:01 | Report abuse |
  35. TxDoc

    I work as a hospitalist or as the doctor who admits the patient to the hospital. In any given day, I will have to diagnose illnesses or complications of illnesses or procedures, explain to many family members what I plan on doing, educate an obese non compliant patient on the need for compliance to keep them out of the hospital, tell someone they have cancer, tell a wife that their husband of 60 years that he will die in a few days, speak to caseworkers and social works on discharge planning of the homeless patient or those that get readmitted every two weeks, talk to nurses about what happened overnight on their beligerent and rude patient, talk on the phone to the distant cousin who demands to speak to the doctor, and etc. I spend the entire day on my feet, going from patient to patient. Sometimes I work 12 days in a row, and sometimes I work 21 days in a row. Sometimes I can spend ten minutes with patient because they have no further questions after speaking with them, and sometimes I spend 1 hour talking to the patient and many family members. And then the ER dumps 7 admission on me at once. All in a day's work.

    I believe that many people work hard in their profession. However, the hardest part of medicine is diagnosing an illness; and yes, I do look stuff up all the time to either refresh my memory or to make sure I'm completely sure of what I'm doing. If you miss a diagnosis like cancer, you better find a good attorney and have lots of money on hand for legal fees. No profession has the pressure of dealing with the fragility of the human body. I enjoy what I do, but the pressure of government and insurance is constantly interfering with what I believe is in my patient's best interest.

    The healthcare system in America is royally screwed up. And making everyone government employees or pawns of the insurance system isn't going to fix it. The only way to reduce cost in the system is for
    1. people to stop smoking, eating fried foods, drinking, and abusing their bodies. When the family demands why their grandfather who had quadriple bypass, is on dialysis, and had his left leg amputated due to diabetes complication isn't getting better after suffering a massive stroke, I really don't know what else to say.
    2. stop paying for so many babies. ALL expectant who are uninsured are given medicaid, so the 15 year old on her 4th child will have a baby entirely paid for by the government aka tax payers.
    3. admit that we have to ration care. If the patient in the icu on maximal life support including ventilator, vasopressors, hemodialysis and patient's family wants everything done, then there's something to be said when there's not a snowball's chance in hell of surviving. I've taken care of plenty of demented, bedbound, feeding tube dependent patients hospitalized with pneumonia and urinary tract infections who get readmitted frequently who have ZERO quality of life but the next of kin doesn't want to live with the guilt of not keeping their dad alive. And we wonder why Medicare is going broke.

    May 2, 2012 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brian

      Your 10 uses of " I " notwithstanding, you have a point with the "system is broken" part of your comments. I wonder a couple of things:

      A.) when will the day come that doctors ever consider the efforts of other health care workers – you remind me of the Quarterback that is convinced he's the only one on the field, and if that were true, football would suck. Doctors are nothing more than a cog in the health care wheel, with a giant dose of narcissism.

      B.) how much health care is frivolous? I'm just guessing here, but in $3 trillion per year there has to be a great amount of unnecessary care taking place. The problem is, doctors will never turn away business, ever. For example, if you want a diagnosis for psych, just go see a psychiatrist, they'd diagnose God himself with something that needs medication. If you want a diagnosis for some cardiovascular issue, just go see a cardiologist, they'd diagnose the Tour de France champion with some sort of cardio problem that needs meds.

      The fact is, the system is broke, because medical doctors are in charge and they want business!! It's all about the money, baby. Doctors can't say no to a bunch of lab testing, diagnosing, x-ray imaging, medicines, medicines, and more medicines. Sometimes, it's uncanny how many meds a doctor would prescribe – likely to perfectly fine people that really don't need to be on all of those beta-blockers, anti-inflamatories, and the like.

      May 2, 2012 at 07:16 | Report abuse |
    • TxDoc


      You'll have to excuse my use of the first person subject. Perhaps referring to myself in the third person would be better.

      I am never one to criticize the nurses, patient care technicians, pharmacist, housekeepers, clerks, or material management who are essential to the delivery of care. You should work in healthcare and see what they go through every workday.

      Funny you mention that doctors just like to diagnosis ailments to make money. I believe that a young Norwegian champion swimmer collapsed and died in the shower yesterday. One has to wonder if he had an unknown cardiac problem that precipitated his death even while in the top shape of his life. A cardiologist probably would've found something that could've saved his life.

      Medicine is a business just as everything else in America. Insurance companies and healthcare giants run medicine, and it's only going to get worse. Not happy with the care here? Go to a socialist country and ask them how long it takes to get to see a specialist. A nurse I work with who is originally from Canada found a breast mass and told by her public health system physician in Canada that she'd have to wait several months to see a breast surgeon. She went ahead and went to the US and was diagnosed with breast cancer and started all her treatments in the US. Imagine what would happen if she had to keep waiting?

      May 3, 2012 at 01:51 | Report abuse |
  36. pugh7755

    Don't like the hours, the pay, the student loans? Find another job and quit complaining. Drs are definitely over paid. Maybe they should have their pay capped for a few years and then maybe they would grow up and appreciate what they had. Most Drs aren't needed in the first place. I wonder if they count the kick backs from pharmaceutical companies to prescribe unnecessary drugs to patience who don't even need them in their salaries. I bet you they don't since most of the time its non-taxed and under the table. Cry me a river.

    May 2, 2012 at 04:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tiger

      I didn't see anyone complaining about the sacrifices they made in med school and continue to make as physicians. Apparently some people think physicians are overpaid and I think the "complainers" you speak of were merely attempting to illustrate why they don't consider themselves overpaid. And it appears they went to medical school and continue to practice medicine despite the sacrifices, the student loans and the pay. If they're just doing it for the money, they almost certainly wouldn't stay in the field.

      May 2, 2012 at 06:19 | Report abuse |
  37. pugh7755

    I just read a post from a medical student complaing about his sacrifices. You knew what was required to become a doctor. So why are you complaing? If you weren't prepaired to make those sacrifices while knowing what a Dr gets paid then why did you even go to medical school? Don't commit to something where you know what it will cost you and what you will be earning and then complain that you aren't getting enough. We have men and women risking their lives as police officers and military soldiers to protect your saftey and freedom and how much do they get paid? And how often do you hear them complaining about their sacrifices and salaries? Personally, I think Drs should get paid no more than $30,000 a year and our soldiers should get at least $100,000 per deployment.

    May 2, 2012 at 05:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tiger

      pugh, I'm interested to know what you think the quality of healthcare in this country would be if doctors were paid $14-16/hr. Do you think $100,000 per deployment would attract only the best soldiers to "protect our safety and freedom"? Basically you're advocating a plan that systematically and sharply decreases the quality of the armed forces AND healthcare. Do you seriously think that salary should be inversely commensurate with extent of education?

      May 2, 2012 at 06:46 | Report abuse |
  38. allenwoll

    The issue is fogged by looking into the wrong end of the telscope. . As a practical matter, it is NOT how much the services of the doctor are "worth", but rather of how much money is AVAILABLE to pay them : As most of us know, the pot is rapidly running dry.

    Put another way, and speaking ONLY of NON-elective services, the doctor must find ways to deliver the necessary services within a figure which the typical patient CAN pay. . This change is indeed inevitable.

    May 2, 2012 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Cathy

    doctors should be highly compensated because of ther tough work and they deserve to have a high living standard. The situation is that other people also do their best to work really hard. They are not complainning how much money they make. Just some people unfortunatelly get sick and can not afford the high medical cost. I think this is why people arguing and this problem can not be solved as long as we live

    May 2, 2012 at 05:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. miscreantsall

    Again, perfect example of greed.

    Health should NOT be PROFIT driven (Democratic Capitalism), nor should education and a select few other areas.

    Just like lawyers, doctors are very greedy. It's all about money and that's it. When you find a doctor that actually cares and puts YOU first before profit……………YOU have found an anomaly and a gift.

    May 2, 2012 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Brandon

    Doctors are not underpaid, but they aren't overpaid either. The biggest problem is the overhead cost of operating a clinic or hospital, which is directly attributable to the absolutely terrible system the US has in place. Our medical fields overhead costs are ridiculous, with us spending inflated amounts of money for services and goods (meds) that are but a fraction of the cost in countries with government funded healthcare.

    May 2, 2012 at 06:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Brian

    Why do doctors in other countries almost universally work for less than $80,000 U.S.?

    It seems to me the health care indicies that determine the overall "health" of a nation (e.g., length and quality of life, etc.) put the U.S in 17th place. Where is the U.S. ranked in terms of medical doctor pay? First, by far. We buy doctors McMansion Homes, BMWs, private schools for their children, and Omega watches. Meanwhile, we are LESS healthy than 16 other countries who pay doctors FAR less.

    Why is that? Even with school loans, our medical doctors live the high-life compared to doctors in other countries with better outcomes for thier citizens.

    May 2, 2012 at 07:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TxDoc

      So much anti-doctor rhetoric on your part. Where do you get your facts? Do you ever notice how many foreign trained doctors there are in this country and ask them why they wanted to come here rather than stay in their home country?

      May 3, 2012 at 01:34 | Report abuse |
  43. Anne

    Some doctors are underpaid, as their the dedicated ones who go out of their way. While others won't even give you the time of day. I recently had an experience where I had to have a biopsy done. The office never called me for a follow-up call. Meanwhile my husband who was going to the same doctor saw my husband, and I was with my husband. Get this while I was there the doctor asked if I found out the results of my biopsy. I told him no, so he left the room and came back and told me the results. There was no further discussion, and the doctor went on examining my husband. While lo and behold I was surprised that I got billed for that. As far as I'm concerned the doctor made out like a bandit. His office calls are $170 and we were only there no more than 15 minutes. Fortunately my biopsy was negative but there were other issues found and weren't discussed with me. So I'm up in the air wondering about the other issues. I guess now I will have to go to my primary doctor and find out what can be done about them. So that means another office call. It's just double-dipping.

    May 2, 2012 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • seabormj

      I have had the same thing happen to me. Had one doctor laugh at me when I tried to tell him I had Sleep Apnea-even had an audio tape of my sleep breathing-he refused to listen to it-fired him went to 3 other doctors and the last one finally sent me for a sleep test-guess what-I have Sleep Apnea! It's all about the $$$-NOT your health care!

      May 2, 2012 at 08:48 | Report abuse |
  44. DarrellPod

    I am a podiatry resident and I can attest to working 80-100 hours some weeks but I tend to average 50-70. I make about $42k a year which is very good money but when you owe over $230,000 in student loans (all from podiatry school) $42k before taxes is a drop in the bucket. I have a three year residency so I will certainly be underpaid for the services I perform daily during that time frame. I understand I will be underpaid once I have my full medical license and will likely be sued at least once in my life ( I probably won't lose my license.) Most people who go into a medical profession undstand this fact. This is why younger doctors say they are underpaid (hopefully $100k per year when I am done in 2013.) I am not in this profession for the cash but if I don't make my $2,432 monthly Sallie Mae payment life will be rough. I want to work in East St. Louis because my family is there but if I can't earn enough money to payback loans in East St. Louis is it wrong for me to go to more affluent areas? Also podiatrist cannot be funded by the National Health Service core for serving lower income areas. The only other option is to work for Indian Health Services which are few and far between in the midwest.

    May 2, 2012 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. seabormj

    These (this)doctor(s)became doctors because why? To help people or to make money; at some point in time doctors have made a choice to become GOOD doctors or money grubbing doctors. As far as I am concerned this story is just “greasing the skids” prior to the full health care law. Funny, I did not see much in the way of support for the health care law from the medical profession. Fact is doctors were mute as far as that went-gee I wonder why? Worried that the cash cow would be ending, as this story clearly indicates?
    I have had upwards of 20 doctors (I’m 59) and of that number maybe two really cared about what they were doing and actually helped me with my heath care. The other 18 were collecting fees and that is all; AND I WAS NOT shopping for a doctor to tell me what I wanted to hear! Finding a good doctor is almost a futile effort, I have fired doctors, actually sent them letters of dismissal. Told my next doctor about it and his PA laughed saying THEY usually fire the patients-I fired him also!
    As soon as we patients start standing up for OUR rights and these doctors start treating their patients as human beings, and lose their god complex, perhaps their wages will increase. Remember doctors, people get paid more when they perform better…

    May 2, 2012 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Eric

    There was probably a time when physicians were earning more than their share, and there are still some who are in that category, but the majority are not; especially in Primary Care. I spent more than 25 years practicing Internal Medicine (now just Primary Care). When I began, after medical school, internship, residency, etc., I had both student debt and the debt from renting, equipping, and staffing an office. I worked more than 80 hours per week, and loved what i did. By the time I left practice, I was working the same 80 hours per week, spending more than half of my time doing useless paperwork for the HMOs, getting paid less than 60% of what I was making years earlier, and had to spend hours every day fighting the insurance companies so my patients could get decent care.

    Primary Care physicians are the most overworked and underpaid members of the medical profession because our system reimburses only for "procedures." If you are only examining patients, ordering tests and prescribing medication you have little financial value in healthcare. I eventually was forced to leave medical practice because of the combination of low reimbursements, high expenses (like malpractice insurance), and pure frustration with a system that foiled my attempts at optimum care for my patients while placing the burden of every unfunded mandate on my shoulders.

    I now practice Law and simply bill my clients for my time and (amazingly) do not have to accept everyone else controlling my fees or work. I never wanted to be anything but a doctor, and I loved practicing Medicine, but simply could not do it anymore. Do doctors get paid too much? A handful do, but most have become underpaid for the hours they work, the years of training, and the willingness to accept the responsibility for other people's lives, with the emotional toll that takes.

    May 2, 2012 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • seabormj

      Eric, you did what every whining doctor on this post and the story should do-get out! At least you seemed to care enough about your patients. For those doctors boo-hooing here do what Eric did get out of the profession-because you will run into someone like me and perhaps more like me who is going to fire you for your bad manners AND bad medicine and before long YOU won’t have a job.

      May 2, 2012 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
  47. CamaroMan007

    If this story is true, then its not about not getting paid enough; its about getting paid, PERIOD! I don't know about Dr. Peterson, but if I wasn't getting paid AT ALL the moment I found out that he cashed that check and spent it that would have been the last visit he would have received from me! I know we all wish health care was a little cheaper, but it's definitely not free!

    May 2, 2012 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply

    Doctors R Overpaid:

    Sorry buddy, the "government" is not forcing your employer to buy you insurance. Thats a little something called the "free market." And apparently, you are unable to get insurance outside of your employment- because the risk you force the insurance companies to take on is too high. Thats not a problem of government action. Thats a problem of government inaction.

    And yes, those of us who have spent hundreds of hours reading up on this, experiencing this lifestyle, do get annoyed when the ignorant "spout out" without doing even a 5 second google search.


    Yes, indeed, we all rely on each-other in a codependent world. No big secret there. You rely on your garbage man, the sewer man, the store clerk, etc. But that is not the measure of value-added to society each one of them produces. And yes, PhD's do great things. But I suggest you walk into a medical school library, look around at all the journals, and then flip through to see the type of research doctors are doing. Journal of the American Medical Association is a great place to start. Doctors contribute mightily to society. I know you "feel" they whine too much, but that feeling should not get in the way of an objective assessment.

    May 2, 2012 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Colin Morgan

    Rare is the person who feels that they are adequately compensated for the job they are doing; in any station of life. So it goes.

    May 2, 2012 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. mike

    Doctors, Pilots and Teachers can't make enough money in my opinion. Is how much they make the first thought that comes to mind when your loved on is on the operating table? When your kid comes home from school ? When cruising at 35k feet?
    If you are willing to work and make sacrafices, these opportunities are available to everyone. Problem is nobody wants to do either anymore.

    May 2, 2012 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
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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.