Monday, July 30, 2007

Do Doctors Make Too Much Money?


An article in the New York Times says the reason health care costs are so high in the United States is because doctors are paid too much. I saw that and my eyes bugged out. I just came home from a meeting with physicians and hospital administrators and the entire meeting was spent discussing the financial challenges physicians face in keeping their doors open to see patients. The goal of this meeting was to keep health services in that community so patients will have someone to care for them. Not a person in the room would agree that the doctors earn too much.

Physicians paid too much? Lets break that down. A doctor spends a minimum of 11 years in education and training after the age of 18. Many are in training for 15 or more years. They are living on student loans and contributing zero to their family's income until the residency years. At that time they earn less than minimum wage if you factor in the 80-100 hour workweek. When a doctor emerges from training (and believe me, there is less sex and fun than is portrayed on ER or Gross Anatomy) he/she averages $160K debt, is over 30 years old and is usually feeling older. For another view of training check out this surgeon's experience.

Let's face it, people do not choose a career in medicine to make money. The opportunities are much greater in business, law or computer programing. Policemen that work overtime make more money than primary care doctors. (Before you make comments...I also believe policemen are underpaid.) Some specialties are well paid and they should be. Frankly I WANT my neurosurgeon to be highly reimbursed because I want to believe she is the cream of the crop. In fact, I want all of my doctors to be the top notch and I want them all highly paid.

The range of the average American's physician pay is between $140 -350K. Many earn less and some earn more. Many doctors work several different jobs (nursing home director, clinical research trials, insurance reviewer) just to supplement their income from seeing patients.

Health care reform is not about lowering physician salaries. Professions that are highly skilled, require extensive training and commitment deserve to be paid at the highest levels of society. There is enough waste, duplication, greed, payola, and inefficiency in health care to cover all Americans AND pay physicians well.

So what do you think? Are physician's overpaid? What about you readers in the UK , Canada, France, Germany and Australia? Are American doctors spoiled?

371 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Oh dear... more crap from docs about how they have rushed in at odd hours to mend an artery or a heart.

Wake up guys... do you realize that there are firemen who take 100 times the risk you take? Imagine the young recruit in Iraq trying to avoid IEDs, ambushes, al-qaeeda and shia death squads all at the same time? How much do they get paid.

Make up your mind... is medicine labour intensive or intelligence intensive?

So doctors, you DO NOT HAVE the most stressful job there is.

Spend some time doing hard math and physics and you will be cured of your sense of intellectual superiority forever. You have been paid way too much for rote memorization.

Here is something for your weak MD minds to think about... suppose that you have two rooms separated by a wall, the left room is vacuum and the right room is not. Suppose the wall is smashed. What will happen?

The air will rush into the vacuum room and they will equalize pressure, right? End of story, huh?

Here is the punchline: it is certain that after a while there will exist a moment when the left room is vacuum AGAIN and all the air is in the right room.

DIGEST THAT. That's a simple fact for you from theoretical physics. Chances are, your numb minds might explode.

Medicine in America is a cartel; like drug cartels in Mexico, or like clergy in the medieval times. You have a bunch of glorified mechanics, who have bullied everyone else into submission with their half truths and propaganda. Socialized medicine is coming to get you. Your game is up.

kia said...

all I have to say is that it can take up to, or even exceed, 20 years for a person to become a full professor. professors, depending on what they are teaching, get paid from 80-120k. so why is it that professors have to go through more schooling and have to constantly do research and publish regularly and are paid less?

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Anonymous said...

This is for everyone who thinks doctors make millions of dollars and live like rockstars.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/14/news/economy/health_care_doctors_quitting/index.htm?postversion=2009091404

Maybe the reason why your doctor treats you like shit is because you march into his/her office demanding the best medical care for free.

Anonymous said...

A plastic surgeon gets paid about $3000 for breast augmentation surgery (cash pay, of course).

A cardiothoracic surgeon gets paid $900 to strip a vein from your leg and replace the one in your heart.

A vascular surgeon gets paid $1000 to fix your aortic aneurysm that will explode and result in instant death if not fixed.

A neurosurgeon gets paid $500 to remove a part of your skull to relieve the pressure in your brain if you have a bleed.

A cardiologist gets paid $600 to rush you to the operating room and place a stent in your heart blood vessel WHILE you are having a massive heart attack, in order to revive your heart.

A gastroenterologist gets paid $150 to wake up in the middle of the night and stop your GI tract from bleeding.

A radiologist gets paid $2.50 to read a CXR (they read a lot of 'em in a day...)

An intensivist gets paid $20 to manage a patient in the ICU on the ventilator.

I get paid $70 an hour to act as the charge nurse in the ICU at the university hospital where I have been working for the past 39 years (going on 40 this year). I have seen many medical students, interns, residents, fellows, and attendings come and go throughout the years. For a small minority of doctors, I wouldn't send my dog to get care from them. But the majority of them, I am proud to see them develop as physicians. I see the long hours and the difficult job they have. Then I read these posts and I get sad. I do realize that there are a few doctors who practice medicine in the community who probably don't know what the hell they're doing. They are the ones who give doctors a bad name. Unfortunately, there will always be bad doctors, just like there will be bad nurses, bad engineers, bad professors... etc etc. I feel that doctors command the salary they make because of they deserve it. Trust me, all it takes is for just one of you doubters to come to have a loved one in our ICU and you will see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"A cardiothoracic surgeon gets paid $900 to strip a vein from your leg and replace the one in your heart.

A vascular surgeon gets paid $1000 to fix your aortic aneurysm that will explode and result in instant death if not fixed.

A neurosurgeon gets paid $500 to remove a part of your skull to relieve the pressure in your brain if you have a bleed.

A cardiologist gets paid $600 to rush you to the operating room and place a stent in your heart blood vessel WHILE you are having a massive heart attack, in order to revive your heart.

A gastroenterologist gets paid $150 to wake up in the middle of the night and stop your GI tract from bleeding.

A radiologist gets paid $2.50 to read a CXR (they read a lot of 'em in a day...)"


PULEEZE--if those numbers were accurate, nobody would mind. However, each of those numbers must be multiplied by AT LEAST 10to be accurate. Specifically, the cardiothoracic surgeon gets AT LEAST $9,000, the vascular surgeon gets AT LEAST $10,000, the neurosurgeon gets AT LEAST $5,000, the cardiologist gets AT LEAST $6,000, the gastroenterologist gets AT LEAST $1,500, and radiologists get AT LEAST $25/read. This is why we need health care reform to LOWER specialists pay.

Anonymous said...

You pay me , I treat you.....

If I fail, you don't come back to me......

You want cheaper healthcare...come to India.....But you won't trust Indian doctors will you ?

So keep paying to your insurance companies.....

Let your doctors earn whether they deserve it or not.....

If you are poor.....you have no choice but to go to a medicare doctor who may or may not talk to you like a call centre worker.

Why should a doctor smile at you and talk to you.....after all he is the mechanic and you are the car....does a mechanic get infected by the car.....

kia said...

The last anonymous poster,
i disagree with you so much i dont even know where to start.
let's just see if you can guess where you went wrong as soon as you compared doctors to mechanics and the patients to cars!

Anonymous said...

If you really want to lower the cost of healthcare in this country it is the pharmaceutical companies and malpractice lawyers you should be attacking. For every 100 dollars you pay the hospital 20 would go to the salary of the nurses 40 might become pure profit for pharamaceutical companies 20 might go to the various support staff at the hospital 10 might pay overhead costs at the hospital and 10 might end up in a doctors pocket. And for those who say doctors spend free time shopping and whatnot what do you do during your free time. Yet others say doctors should do it for the joy of helping other people, well do you flip burgers at mcdonalds for the joy of it, doctors get yelled at by the obese with heart disease, the heroin addicts recovering from an overdose, or the smoker with lung cancer. for what they do ie. getting bleed on shoving there fingers up peoples asses i think they are payed just fine

Anonymous said...

The CNN money article brings no tears to my eyes...sorry. Google and find the CNN Money article that says that, adjusted for training, jobs in scientific research are the LOWEST paid in the United States.

And that includes all the scientific research that produces and continues to produce almost everything around us... from plastics to satellites.

Doctors entered the profession looking to make BIG BIG BUCKS. Doctors turned (wo)man-eaters and tried to strip people of every last penny. It is possible that doctors have passed their peak. The doctors came in to rob people off their wallets and now, bigger, more organised gangs like insurance companies are beating out the small time robber....er I mean doctor.

This is what happens when a profession becomes so committed to dishonesty and money grubbing that it loses all its cache.

Organised crime beats petty crime. Insurance companies beat doctors.

Anonymous said...

If doctors are beginning to lose out on the money front, I say .... Hell yeah!

Medical science was founded by scientists... hard working research scientists. What did the scientists get out of it... zilch... the lowest paid jobs in the most desperate of circumstances and zero job security after countless years of training.

The fat was cut out and eaten by "doctors", who memorised the craft by rote and sold it to the public at sky high prices. The arrogance of "doctors" rose so high and such was the glamour of their money that the original meaning of the word "doctor" was lost on the public. Most Americans now wonder if PhDs are "real doctors".

If doctors feel that their profession is now under threat and its profitability is withering away, you might want to ask why this happened.

Let me tell you why. Your obscene incomes caught the public eye. Just like you gorged on the fruits of scientific labour without putting in the hard work, they came..like mosquitoes to suck YOUR blood. They came...the lawyers...the insurance co.s, all of them.

These parasites...they got fatter as time progressed. At first you did not mind them... you had too much lying around and you didn't earn it anyway, so you didn't think much of having to give off small amounts away. But they... they got fatter and fatter and fatter and now they are starting to threaten your well being.

Doctors picked up science and sold it and kept all the spoils for themselves. In the process, scientists... who did all the real science were stripped off all the credit. Who cures diseases? Medical Doctors.... and medical doctors alone.. the moles who worked out the science couldn't possibly deserve any credit, could they? The American Medical Association is still trying to get it written in law that PhDs cannot call themselves doctors!

And you wonder why the lawyers and the insurance companies came to get you and your ill begotten cash?

What goes around comes around.

Anonymous said...

If doctors are beginning to lose out on the money front, I say .... Hell yeah!

Medical science was founded by scientists... hard working research scientists. What did the scientists get out of it... zilch... the lowest paid jobs in the most desperate of circumstances and zero job security after countless years of training.

The fat was cut out and eaten by "doctors", who memorised the craft by rote and sold it to the public at sky high prices. The arrogance of "doctors" rose so high and such was the glamour of their money that the original meaning of the word "doctor" was lost on the public. Most Americans now wonder if PhDs are "real doctors".

If doctors feel that their profession is now under threat and its profitability is withering away, you might want to ask why this happened.

Let me tell you why. Your obscene incomes caught the public eye. Just like you gorged on the fruits of scientific labour without putting in the hard work, they came..like mosquitoes to suck YOUR blood. They came...the lawyers...the insurance co.s, all of them.

These parasites...they got fatter as time progressed. At first you did not mind them... you had too much lying around and you didn't earn it anyway, so you didn't think much of having to give off small amounts away. But they... they got fatter and fatter and fatter and now they are starting to threaten your well being.

Doctors picked up science and sold it and kept all the spoils for themselves. In the process, scientists... who did all the real science were stripped off all the credit. Who cures diseases? Medical Doctors.... and medical doctors alone.. the moles who worked out the science couldn't possibly deserve any credit, could they? The American Medical Association is still trying to get it written in law that PhDs cannot call themselves doctors!

And you wonder why the lawyers and the insurance companies came to get you and your ill begotten cash?

What goes around comes around.

Mark said...

I'm a civil engineering prof at a very good research 1 institution. Yes our workload is intense. I work and work and work and work some more when the tenured folks go home. My job is an awful lot of fun but also a load of stress.

Professors are grossly underpaid. They work very hard on problems that are important. Especially when you look at neerland ranch or the homes that athletes live in.

Engineers may not make as many decisions as doctors do, but guess what. When they make the wrong decision, hundreds or thousands can die all at once. Think Chernobyl. Think jumbo jet crash. Think about 40,000 traffic fatalities a year civil engineers are trying to reduce. Think about the people who died in the Hyatt Regency accident. Think about what life would be like with no roads, no water distribution system, no wastewater treatment system. Engineers could easily have handled the quantitative jobs on wall street, but would rather do work that they feel is noble. Engineers are very important people to society.

But so are MD's. I work in a place where MD's are everywhere. There is no doubt that they are bright people. There is no doubt that they have been through a lot. Most of them have no regrets.

MD's deserve more. They live in poverty for a long, long time and they do graduate with more debt than I do. Mountains more.

As far as difficulty of education, each is difficult in its own way. I know MD's who would not do well with a PhD program and vice versa. Their program is hard because they have to cross such a violently raging river. Ours is hard because we are dropped in the middle of the ocean and have to find our way to the shore and get to safety. I have equal respect for the MD and the science and/or engineering PhD. I don't think of one as a real doctor and the other not. Doctors are the leaders of their profession and have the right to instruct others in their domain because of what they learned. I don't think of an MD as having accomplished any more or any less than what I have. I see them as my equal in every single way. We just have different jobs and different callings.

But I fully believe that the MD salary should be much higher than mine. They take on student debt and have HUGE payments to make. They have to worry about malpractice insurance. At the end of the day, we should take home about the same thing when it's all said and done. And it should be more than it is now.

CEO's are far overpaid. Athletes are far overpaid. Entertainers are grossly overpaid. Doctors, engineers, nurses, academics in math, science, and engineering, scientists, public school teachers, military personnel, firefighters, and law enforcement and the like are woefully underpaid. Part of their compensation is the fact that their professions are honorable.

And yes, anyone in one of those professions who are far underpaid and do very important public service has every right to be proud to be what they are. Society needs to afford those people a lot of respect.

Anonymous said...

I have worked for a doctors office and i think for all they do and the services they provide to us patients does not get overpaid.They I think are underpaid. Doctors and healthcare providers of all fields are underpaid. Here they all are saving peoples lives everyday and we pay them only enough to live and uphold bills on their offices. Why we don't pay them of worth but yet we pay millions of dollars to singers,actors,and other sourced people to do nothing more then to play make believe. We are willing to pay someone less money for saving a life then for someone who prances around spending our hard earned money on things not of necessity. All healthcare personnel as well as doctors are to me believed to be underpaid.

Anonymous said...

I bet part of the reason people hate doctors so much is because of a bad experience. I've had my share with them, when an inappropriately cocky physician comes in, spends a few minutes with me, then leaves without giving me the opportunity to speak up. But he did make the right diagnosis, and I did get better. But he never gave me a chance to ask any questions!

And I began to wonder, "why the hell doesn't my doctor just cut down on the number of patients he has so he can spend more time with me!" And I realized that it would hurt his income, so he tries to jam as many patients into a single day as possible.

Is this the type of healthcare that we all want? If we lower reimbursements for doctors, then all they are going to do is spend even LESS time with patients. There has to be a better way. Maybe if they were paid per hour instead of per patient, they would be able to spend more time with each patient. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

I'm going to make this short and sweet.

Physicians are in the wrong business.

Want to make time for golf, parties, vacations?

Go do breast implants and stop bitching.

You can train the average human with a 120 IQ to cut and suture another human in one years training.

You can train the average human with a 120 IQ to delegate orders to others in one years training.

You can train the average human with a 120 IQ to flowchart and troubleshoot complex symptoms in two years training.

So go slip silicone in daddy's little girl for 5 grand.

Mark said...

For all the respect I have for the MD's, I do agree with many of the sentiments from the PhD's who claim that MD's have stolen the title Doctor. Doctor is the term we use for the leaders of our research profession, and we fully expect to use the term in a research and academic setting. And yes, it's the PhD who works out the problems and the science that the MD's apply. Yes, the PhD is the highest degree any university can confer, though MD's are certainly worthy of a similar level of respect. And in a sense, through their scientific work, PhD's tell MD's what to do.

But the day any MD expects me to call him Dr. and him call me Mr. is the day he will be told to go fly a kite. The bottom line is that we will either address each other by first name or by Doctor, and it will go both ways, certainly outside of a clinical setting. I personally don't care which. Mr. is out of bounds, unless it's in the UK, where surgeons are addressed as Mr. and it isn't a big deal.

Certainly, if I was working on a medical project I would not use the title Dr. in a clinical setting, because I would not want to confuse the patient. But if a more formal introduction was warranted, I would just introduce myself by first name and state that I have a doctoral degree in engineering, and then state what I was doing for the patient. And if the patient wanted to use my academic title, fine. If not, fine. But if he wanted to call me Mr. I would just say, "Mark is fine,"

But for those who are about to undergo surgery and complain about MD salaries, would you prefer that the surgeon wonder how he's going to feed his family after his huge medical school loan payment and huge malpractice insurance premium while he's operating on you? Or would you rather him have a comfortable material existence so he doesn't have the distraction of serious financial worries while operating on your internal organs?

And to the person who says the figures are 10 times what the charge nurse has quoted- some of the figures may be a little low-ball, but they aren't too far off from the truth, certainly when these people have to do these things for those who cannot afford to pay.

Michael said...

DOCTORS SHOULD GET PAID WHAT THEY FEEL THEIR WORTH SO WE CAN MAKE IT INTERESTING TO THE MEDICAL FIELD, AND GET SOME OF THE SMARTEST TO BECOME MDS, THAN WHEN WE NEED THEM WE HAVE EXCELLENT HEATH CARE, ITS LIKE NO OTHER BUISNESS WHAT KIND OF TIRES DO YOU WANT ON YOUR CAR,

Anonymous said...

There is money in medicine as a physician no matter how you look at it. I work for a university with a medical school and am shocked to meet the many many medical students who go into medicine for the money. I would like to see doctors who become doctors to help patients. I have many friends who are physicians who are "disappointed" that they only make $200K and work every way in the system to beef up their pay in the process severely cutting patient care. $200 K per year is a lot of money. Doctors should be more like social workers. There will always be people who want to help humanity and these people should become the poeple admitted to medical schools not money hungry kids who see a way to line their pockets with cash and in the mean time compromize patient care.

Anonymous said...

These doctors are full of it. they make money and have top work for it--boo hoo! Do your job and make money and stop making money. There are thousands of kids who are qualified to get into medical school and because of quota on the number of studnets, they can't make it in. Loosen the guidleines and let more studnets become doctors. Then there will be les hours to work for doctors. Maybe less apy because there is more supply of docs but...that's what you get when you compalin doctors.

Anonymous said...

all is I see is edoctors whinning around me d=saying I don't make any money. I only made $350 K last year--help me help me. Please---you should have your salaries cut in half--get with it-there are people starving and unable to get any medical care in the US. Why would we feel sorry for you.

Anonymous said...

I am tired of hearing doctors whinning about making $135,000 a year. That is a lot of money and they shouldn't complain. There are of course doctors out there that make over $400,000. That is a whole lot of money and these doctors complain. Students who have a passion for helping sick people should be admitted to medicals schools. Students should not be admitted if they are money hungry. I think all doctors should make a little over $100,000 and do the job for the love of helping others. there are many many incoming students who would be glad just to be a doctor to help others and money would never enter into the equation.

Anonymous said...

If you cut doctors pay in half they'd still be wealthy. What ever happened to being a doctor to help others.

Anonymous said...

If you just look at their salaries, then yes some doctors are overpaid slightly, especially specialists making over 300k on average. But if you take into account the extra years of tertiary education and low paid work they need to do, the pay of standard doctors becomes a bit closer to what I would say is appropriate. Maybe still slightly overpaid, but if so, only by a very small margin. There are more serious issues, such as underpaid academics. Both Academics and Doctors require excellent undergraduate results to get into graduate school / med school. Both require many years slaving away in graduate school, followed by years working underpaid (intern vs postdoc.) But the pay for doctors and academics is very different once they emerge from their respective cocoons. I believe surgeons should be paid slightly higher then academics because they have the added stress of peoples lives in their hands and alot at stake. While academics have the same, if not a higher potential to make a positive difference, they rarely have to deal with the same day to day stress as a doctor. On the other hand, academics actually create new knowledge, and MDs just learn course work. So I think surgeons should make slightly more then full professors on average (10% at the most) At the moment though, professors are making less then family doctors on average. This is probably not so much an issue of overpaid doctors (which it may be to a small extent) but more an issue of underpaid academics. Oh I'm talking about researchers, scientists and professors here, not adjuncts at community colleges.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes they do choose medicine to make lots of money.

jon said...

All I can really say is how bad I don't feel for doctors and how little money they make. I work at a hospital and it seems like to me they do pretty good. With the exception of one of them, they all drive Mercedes, and Escalades and the like. They drive these luxury vehicles to their Million dollar homes every night, and at least once a year leave the country on extravgent vaction where they often own second and third homes. Let me assure you that anyone who has left a comment about how they understand that doctors don't make enough money or are even underpaid, are these greedy and crooked doctors who are taking kickback after kickback for pushing pharmicutical company's legal drugs, or are just as foolish as they appear to be. Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

There is a easy solution to lowering the doctors' salaries in this country for the benefits of all of us. Allow more foreign-educated medical doctors sit the same exams that their US counterparts take before residencies. Then increase the number of residencies. Foreign-educated doctors do not have the debt of US med school students, so they will flood the system given the current expected return. Thus, the number of residencies can be increased considerably, but criteria of admission (exam scores) not lowered at all, in case you are concerned about quality.

To attract this global talent, the US should offer skilled worker visas and a path to greencards, so the foreign-trained doctors who start their residencies here will also stay in the US. Simple economics will do the rest in eliminating any inefficiency in the current level of compensation of doctors.

Unlike foreign engineers who are brought in the country on skilled visas, the foreign doctors cannot be used to outsource American jobs later, because doctor jobs are not outsource-able. So they will stay in the US, pay taxes and lower the cost of healthcare for all of us.

At the same time, the truly smart people who went into medicine for the money will no longer go into medicine but in more innovative type of fields that will help US stay competitive. In other words, there will be the side benefit of freeing talent that need not be employed in the stressful - albeit repetitive and not-so-innovative - work of practicing medicine.

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Anonymous said...

Why is everyone so concerned about a Doc's wages???? Why isn't there the same scrutiny given to the absurd salaries that sport's/movie and music celebrities get paid for what they do??? I mean you don't hear too much angst when a sports star nails a $25million contract over 4 years, but when a Physician is reimbursed $250k a year for working 80hrs a week, dealing with life and death decisions, all of a sudden there is a question about what is fair. I think that the values of society needs to be re-evaluated.

Anonymous said...

Yes, doctors here complain a lot about sports stars signing a 20million contract, when they get 250k/year for working 80 hours of week ? I am gonna let others post how exaggerated the 80 hours claim is. All I want to say is that doctors would do better to learn some elementary probabilities and expected values. Because that 20 million sportsman is one in 100,000, while for doctors to make the 250k/year may be somewhere between one in two and one in one. Say one doctor in two makes 250,000. One sportsman in 100,000 makes 20 million. Hence a doctor's expectation is (1/2)*250k = 125k. A sportsman's expectation is (1/100,000)*20,000k = 200. So we're talking 125,000 for a doc vs 200 bucks in expectation for a sportsman. Adjust the numbers, if you will - the comparison will still be overwhelmingly in favor of doctors. So your argument about the sportsman is null, docs! Stop spinning yarns. Society gave you the knowledge, you learned it by rote (not all of you, I imagine, but most), and then you hold the rest of society to ransom. You're bringing down the country because of your greed - how can we compete in the world when a larger and larger proportion of what the nation earns goes into healthcare (which is a commodity!). Other nations can invest in new science, in getting to the moon. We can no longer afford to have one single space shuttle. You say: we make more and pay more in tax. I say: society will be better off with more of you, each making less. Same total tax.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said "You're bringing down the country because of your greed - how can we compete in the world when a larger and larger proportion of what the nation earns goes into healthcare (which is a commodity!). ... You say: we make more and pay more in tax. I say: society will be better off with more of you, each making less. Same total tax."

My response: I couldn't agree more!!! American specialist doctors are very protected and insulated from the economic realities of today's world. Their egos have become enormous because they incorrectly believe they have worked harder than anyone else in society. There are a lot of other people in society (including other professionals) that have worked (and continue to work) infinitely harder than any doctor I know.

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AnonymousBlogger said...

Price is all about supply and demand. Let more people study medicine, keep the same rigorous training and we should have the same quality of doctors at lower prices.

This mentality may sound kind of harsh for some, but that's been the faith of a bunch of people in other professions. Teachers, scientists, engineers, firefighters,
policemen have not done such a good job monopolizing quality and quantity of supply. And their salaries reflect it.

A lot of doctors are "overpaid" in USA because they've done a pretty good job of keeping the supply of doctors low. Other equally capable candidates didn't make it just because of "limited admission slots" or prohibitive education costs. Kudos to those who made it!!!

I do agree that the issue of health care costs may go beyond an issue of high doctor salaries. But these salaries are a reflection that something's "wrong" with the health care system in general these days.

The argument about their salaries justified by the lifes that they save is not very strong.
My life is worth as much when saved by a policeman, a lifeguard, a firefighter, an EMT, a nurse or a doctor. Although I do agree that the compensation of a doctor should be higher.

Also they like to talk about how much they had to sacrifice. Guess what! A lot of people sacrifice themselves for pennies these days. Some don't even have the CHOICE to go to college and study medicine and HAVE to settle for less and may end up without money for retirement, if they ever see one.

I think the best paid doctors should be the ones that do any innovations. The ones working on academic settings developing the latest procedures for others to follow.
A doctor that develops a cure for AIDS or cancer deserves to be "overpaid". The doctors that create non-invasive procedures that diminish risk during surgery should be overpaid. So should the people that come up with drugs and advanced diagnostic methods and equipment for early and efficient detection of diseases. And their pay should be attached to the value that they add to society. ANY money generated around any of those contributions should come back in the form of commisions to the pockets of whoever created them. THAT, would be money WELL DESERVED.

As far as I know, these things sound more like the jobs of Phd scientists and engineers, not the job of MD's. Yet they're grossly underpaid in comparison to the value they add. These people are the ones that should be REALLY pissed. Their "intellectual property" is being stolen by the billions and they don't even realize it. WAKE UP!!!

softech said...

Gna just share my views from top to bottom as I see them.
I feel this is a good simply because it’s consistent with how the user is used to seeing the comment form and filling out information in general. Filling out the name and email wont take me much time, and if you really wanted to go ahead and type the comment first, you can do so, not really that big of a work around. I’m .
part time worker

Anonymous said...

Outsourcing is coming to medicine in a big, big way. Outside of surgery there is very little need for the physical presence of a physician (now even some surgeries can be performed remotely). Much of what is currently done by US doctors will be taken by lower-paid specialists with limited fields of activity, and many of them will be in India, the Philippines, etc. The wall of protectionism surrounding the US medical industry is crumbling. Look at all the little for-profit mini-clinics popping up; they're far cheaper than a visit to the doctor's office, yet effective AND profitable.

Anonymous said...

Those mini-clinics are effective because they cut out the middle-man (insurance companies). The health-care provider is actually making MORE money while the patient pays LESS, at the same time providing BETTER CARE. This is why a free-market system works. Costs come down, quality improves, and everybody is happy (except for big corporations ie. insurance companies).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

Those mini-clinics are effective because they cut out the middle-man (insurance companies). The health-care provider is actually making MORE money while the patient pays LESS, at the same time providing BETTER CARE. This is why a free-market system works. Costs come down, quality improves, and everybody is happy (except for big corporations ie. insurance companies).

I say:

I'm not so sure about that--the mini clinics seem to be sucessful because they cut out the doctors. The clinics are typically staffed with nurse practitioners. I think this shows much of what doctors doesn't require 8 years of training. These clinics typically DO accept insurance.

Everyone is happy except the overpaid doctors!!!!!!!!

brett said...

Great subject. I have been playing around with the idea of the comment structure recently.


Make Big Money All Profit

Anonymous said...

Most MD's are parasites! It's time to
let registered nurses prescribe most
medications. It's a pathetic profession. I really don't know
how the wealthy one sleep at night?

Branden H said...

imo, family doctors get paid too little. assume that physicians do make $160,000 a year. That is fairly wealthy. However, you have to see it from the bad side too. Two major things come into account with that money, tax and malpractice insurance. tax is around 30% because of the bracket it is in (assuming he/she is single). That leaves 120k a year after taxes. Not bad. Factor in malpractice insurance. In california, the LA area where i live, that's about $14,500 (google search of this gave me this ball park figure, http://www.covermd.com/Resources/California-Medical_Malpractice_Insurance.aspx) 110k a year still very good. However, you have to factor in the cost of malpractice as it changes from case to case. Plus, you have to pay for medical equipment in your office and that doesn't come cheap. Leasing your office and paying your workers too. Not to mention your own regular insurance and student loans. After all that, you might still make a good living of $70,000 but i wouldn't say it is wealth. One of the post referenced saying physicians should make 100k a year, would that be before all this or after?

Plus, you don't realize that specialties get paid by the hospitals TOO as well as have their own firms (at least where i live at). That is where the extra money comes from. But on their own firms i would agree they make around 200k a year. The hospital pays them to stay at the hospital, especially if they are good. good surgeon = more patients = better for hospitals. so not all the cost and extra money from the specialties come straight from you. These surgeons are competitive and good at what they do and deserve money. but to some extent, you have to draw the line.

That's why i go with the notion that some doctors like family physicians are grossly underpaid while others like plastic surgeons are highly overpaid. However, you should not blame the plastic surgeon entirely for it is HIS PATIENTS that PAY HIM THE BIG BUCKS TO CHANGE THEIR APPEARANCE. Specialties, like most professions, get paid well because they do well. That's it.

A lot of public service jobs are grossly underpaid as well such as policemen, firefighters, teachers, etc. But the government cannot pay them all the sum they want. That's the sad truth. Doctors, I think, are the exception because the med schools choose who THEY THINK is the best candidate to be the doctors. Sometimes they are morally corrupt but highly intelligent, sometimes they are morally inclined but not as intelligent, and so on and so forth. By being so selective, they kept the pay relatively high. THIS is to encourage people to go into medicine ironically. Because if the standards were lower, no one would spend that much time and that much rigor to compete with everyone else in the markets to make less than 100k a year and have to pay loans and malpractice insurance. Malpractice insurance would be off the charts because they have to cover ALL the doctors that enter. So think before you say we should let more doctors in because more than 1 factor such as health cost going down would affect you. The quality of medicine as well as other cost will surely affect you. Probably the reasons why Government is so afraid to change the health care system. Yes, canada has a socialized health care system but they don't attract the greatest...(continued)

Branden H said...

and brightest anymore because there is no money in it. Yes you would want a nice doctor that care about you but you wouldn't want him to be an average joe would you? If you're paying for it you demand the best. It's that saying, "you get what you pay for."

To conclude, for some more leg room of a better lifestyle for doctors (specifically family doctors) I would say they are underpaid. I want to be a doctor and I don't much care if I get paid 40-50k a year after tax and malpractice. I would still do my best regardless because that is who I am, I want to help. However, not everyone will be like that. Some demand more for their services because they feel they deserve more. Therefore, this makes it a matter of opinion of how much doctors should get paid. I think if things stay the way they are, 180-200k a year is good enough. It'll get most of the expenses taken care of and give way to a better lifestyle. However, the other alternative is to cut down student loans/interest rates/malpractice insurance and their pay would be good enough. But once again, it is all a matter of opinion.

Sadly, I do agree that most people go in it for the money. Family Medicine and Internal Medicine has slowly declined every year as medical students choose specialties because they are smart and know there is no way they are going to make the living they want with little money. I'm fine with that. Before people butcher them though, if you had their choices, would you pick the same. Would you do your job with less pay for the "good of society." If you were a teacher/engineer/police officer/firemen/soldier/accountant/business administrator, would you want to decrease your salary because some people who disrespect you want you to get paid less for your services? No, you wouldn't so why should doctors? You say they have god-complexes yet you won't level with them. You work hard for your salary and they do too. Don't belittle their job because they probably, if they are humble enough, won't belittle yours...(continued)

Branden H said...

It's like saying to an computer science or engineer, "this computer crashes all the time, you should get paid less." if that were the case, engineers would leave the field immediately. this is all exaggeration of course. Another point, engineers, doctors, and all other professions cannot be compared because they all have some level of rigor that is all unique and different. But, doctors do mess around with peoples lives everyday and have to deal with it directly. Most if not all of the medical field does but I'd say mostly doctors and nurses. How can you compare an engineer whose invention could have killed thousands off a mistake when they don't really know if they made the mistake. It could be the builder, the supplier, or a natural cause. Plus, no offense but I don't see that engineer lining up to all of the victims family's and apologizing. That's the difference. Try telling a kid he can never see his parent(s) again because the heart surgeon failed to save his parents from a shooting. IT IS NOT ALWAYS THE DOCTORS FAULT. There are just things in life you cannot control. Then again, maybe it is. It's already hard to apologize to people and tell them you are wrong or did something wrong. Now, be a doctor, tell your patient's family that you did something wrong and cost them their family member. Then afterwords, hopefully after you tried everything to save that person, have their family sue you over and over again out of rage. It is tough. I am not saying engineers don't deal with the same things. I infact respect engineers very much as well as all other professions. Just don't belittle how hard it is to be a doctor. The same attitude goes to the doctor. Because in reality, it is not just you who dedicated yourself to getting that far, it is also plenty of luck that got you there. You should be thankful to make it in the fairly competitive and respected fields.

Wow I got off topic. Sorry. To conclude, imo family doctors are way underpaid.

Anonymous said...

I have been working as an administrator for two medical facilities for the past 7 years. I have access and am required to evaluate all payments and expense. All I can say is it is a constant battle between making patients happy and paying the bills. Malpractice insurance is a requirement to practice medicine and is extrmemly expensive. The malpractice insurance for some physicians is half of what they earn. Overheads for medical equipment and supplies are through the roof ALWAYS. Insurance payments are constantly denied for no reason and cause staff to work longer hours fighting for smaller payments. All state requirements increase annually causing more staff time and overheads. All overheads increase annually even if the qty of items do not increase. The worst part about this mess is the physicians and facilities are reimbursed less and less each year. Then patients complain when the doctors have to spend less time with them to cover the cost. Some physicians have been working over 80 hours/week for the past 20 years consistently. Anyone on here that says a physician shouldnt have a comfortable lifestyle outside of his profession has no idea what they are talking about. These doctors are saving lives every single day and are taking on the stress of each and every patient they evaluate. DOCTORS ARE WAY UNDERPAID AND WE WILL ALL SUFFER GREATLY IF THIS ISSUE IS NOT RESOLVED. Lets see what happens to the editor of the NYTimes article when he/she or his/her family needs a doctor and cant find one.

Whos going to want to be a doctor if they have to stress over patients and their bills at the same time.

Side note: Patients that look for excuses or 'opportunities' to sue physicians will get what they deserve.

Sincerely,
Karma.

Anonymous said...

my doctor charges $50 for a follow up visit and I dont see him often. my vet charges $80/ visit and isnt very good. A car wash costs $20, a bottle of water costs $1. My mechanic charges $65/hr. Our computer tech gets paid $90/hr.

Anyway, there is a major shortage of doctors ahead and we need incentive otherwise we are all in trouble.

Anonymous said...

To the person above regarding incentive:

We just finished reading, "Will the Last Physician in America Please Turn Off the Lights" I recommend reading it.

I also agree with you, we are all in big trouble if we keep giving potential med students reasons to go into another field.


Some estimates are saying that we will have a shortage of up to 160,000 doctors by 2025. We better start bringing respect back to this field and cherish what we have. When we all get older, we are now in trouble. We need to fix this problem for our kids, its too late for us. http://www.examiner.com/x-5968-DC-Public-Policy-Examiner~y2010m1d29-Medical-college-associations-predict-physician-shortage-of-up-to-160000-by-2025

Anonymous said...

Medicare just announced another paycut, thats close to %60 in past 7 years. All other insurance companies follow their lead. Doctors are going to spend less time with us. good job everyone

Anonymous said...

Are you people crazy. The only reason the medical industry makes money is because patients sue the doctos if they arent thorough. Xray, cat scan blood test liver test, sonograms, specialist, follow visit, repeat, physical, repeat. This is all to catch something so they dont get sued... i thought that was obvious stuff

Anonymous said...

I agree everyones crazy, disagree with the rest

Sandy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandy said...

Doctors should be paid well. The good ones should be living at least upper middle class lives. However, don't many of the expensive procedures really on equipment that engineers designed? Also, aren't organs donated? Doctors cannot charge for an expensive transplant if people were not nice enough to donate their organs.

Anonymous said...

You all sicken me. Doctors and surgeons SAVE lives. If you put an annual value on that, it should be much more and the fact that you're willing to strip money off of the most stressful career imaginable only confirms that you believe the value of life is less than what they are currently being paid. Ok, so let's take it back to when I was 16 and my baby brother was 3. I was out, my mum put Sam down for a nap and had one herself. Sam got up, and for some reason or another, decided he would drink the entire bottle of slow release, long acting cough syrup. When I got home I saw him, woke mum, raced him accross to my neighbour who was a dr on his first day off in 3 weeks, called ahead, as we raced to the er. Sam almost needed a liver transplant. Our doctor was there for 3 days straight to make sure he didn't die. You're all so incredibly fortunate you weren't getting tested for compatibility with your son or sibling. That dr, as far as I'm aware, could never be getting paid too much. Neither are the doctors who stand up on their few days off as an emergency or trauma occurs that requires them. They don't need to rush over to the man I saw get flung across a car and land 15m away, why should they? They weren't insured. They weren't getting paid. But they did. Two nurses and a general surgeon were there before you could pull your phone out to call 000.

Future doc said...

As a person who is about to enter medical school this fall, these comments are truly disheartening. To see that half of my future patients already think that I am stupid, overpaid, a liar, a scammer, and only in it for the money before I even start truly hurts. I am becoming a doctor because I DO care about people, and want to go to work knowing every single day I have made a difference in someones life. Even if its as small as prescribing pills to alleviate a headache.

As far as people thinking that doctors are overpaid, that is a ridiculous sentiment. Doctors are among this nations most educated and trusted professions. These are people who have slaved to get to the position they are at. And yet some people believe that for all that training and trust that is put into a doctor-patient relationship, doctors should live a mediocre life. They should never vacation (ask yourself if you like to take a break from your stressful job a few times a year), they should be available 24/7 (because apparently their own personal time is worth nothing), and they should continue to provide their invaluable service for a 20% paycut (would you take a 20% paycut at your job?). I am truly not understanding why people believe doctors should not live a very comfortable life. Why do people feel doctors should be satisfied with a mediocre wage and just provide you with the best health care because it's "your right". Personally, I want my heart surgeon to focus on me when I am being operated on, not on how he will pay off his student debt. I want him to be the best at what he does, not the cheapest doc in town.

As a recent graduate I have had the pleasure of being around America's future doctors. MANY of my friends were accepted into medical school and none of these men and women are brainless "fact regurgitators". It is shocking that people think doctors can only operate out of a "cookbook formula" or are good at a few repetitive tasks. These are people who were at the top of their class, the ones who stayed in and studied when our friends were at the bar. The ones who aced their MCAT's along with every class they took in college. You haters out there are LUCKY to have people who are this smart and are willing to go through the hell it takes to become a physician for individuals who hate them.

Many people in my premed program have discussed the future pay of doctors and none of us are under the illusion that doctors will continue to be paid as well. Guess what, all of my friends still chose to go to medical school because its what they love. They are not money hungry thieves. But i do know people who were scared that they will not be able to make a fair or comparable living as a doctor and have chosen to flee the career path. And these are extremely intelligent individuals at the best universities, the kind of people who you want as your future doctors. This will happen more and more as some of you have predicted. All my friends outside of medicine are making between 70 and 100K, while I am going into huge debt. If you think that does not weigh heavily on peoples decisions to pursue medicine, trust me it does. There needs to be more incentive than just being mother theresa and our society is run on money. Of course I want to help people, but why can't I also want to live a comfortable life? Do those two always have to be mutually exclusive? Without high pay to look forward to intelligent 22 years olds will make the choice to become doctors less and less, this is a promise. Personally, I would be happy to take a pay cut in the future if I could have gone straight to medical school from high school and bypassed the 100K spent on undergrad. I would take a pay cut if medical school would not set me back (at minimum) 160K. I would even take a pay cut if I was paid a wage during residency that allowed me to actually pay off a decent amount of my debt…. I will continue in the next post

Future doc said...

Another side note: Why do people believe that when you go to a doctor and pay a $500 bill, all that money actually goes to the doctor? It does not, rates are not set by doctors, but by insurance companies and medicare. Doctors are reimbursed for services and usually only get paid a fraction of what you actually pay. Every year these reimbursements actually go down, forcing more work for the same money. And why do people believe that they should be getting a SERVICE that is done by a highly educated, skilled professional done for free?

I want to end by saying that there are many professions out there who do not get paid enough, or don't command the respect that they should. However, this forum is discussing whether doctors make too much money. And my opinion is they do not make enough. GP's are grossly underpaid for their services. They fight for every dollar they receive and frankly don't receive enough. There is a reason people are fleeing from this part of medicine and its not greed. They are over-worked, under appreciated and their quality of life is suffering. Specialists are paid fairly. Yes I said it...come on people. Do you know how complicated neurosurgery is? Do you know how much risk and liability these people take on day in and day out? Not everyone can be a neurosurgeon, and frankly I want mine to be the best. And the best at any profession deserves BIG BUCKS. I would love for him to be able to take 6 weeks of paid vacation a year, because that means when he is operating on my brain he will be that much more relaxed. For all the people who complain about doctors pay...there will come a day when you need a doctor and then you will not be so eager to have a "90% quality", outsourced or average doctor. You will demand the best and if he saves your life you will be happy to pay the costs. I know most out there will argue against my points and call me the problem. But doctors are not the enemy and the sooner people realize it the sooner we can all focus on what really needs to be done to get health care back on track

Anonymous said...

Doctors, on the average, probably make about 5 times as much as they deserve here in the U.S. because medicine is a sanctioned monopoly. This is a problem with any and all state-sanctioned monopolies.

Breaking up old Ma Bell here not only produced a better telecommunications system and an explosion of technology and commerce world-wide, it also has produced an incredibly flexible and affordable system if one chooses to use it that way.

But nobody wants to even mention breaking up the AMA, because, well, who wants to be an enemy of doctors?

Anonymous said...

Folks don't fool yourselves. I got into it for the moolah, cold, plain and simple. Does it matter? If you're on my OR table and I can cure you, do you care? I don't expect the girl ringing up my groceries to do it for free, I don't expect my mail to get delivered without stamps. Just say thanks for curing me, pay the bill,shut up, and get out of my office, I got more patients to see.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

Just say thanks for curing me, pay the bill,shut up, and get out of my office, I got more patients to see.

I say:

This is the problem. US doctors (particularly specialists) have come to believe they are gods. We need to eliminate these types of doctors--get them out of medicine. They are only in it for THEMSELVES. If we had 4 or 5 times the number of surgeons, he wouldn't have so many patients. Then, he would have to start treating patients like they are human beings (so he could keep the patients he has).

This specialist doctor is the epitome of what is currently wrong with the US healthcare system.

Anonymous said...

How about the government paying all the student loans off for med students, but only paying them 80k a year after residency? That would keep out the people only in it for the money, but increasing the quality of doctors. The schooling would be the same, but money wouldn't be the driving factor for people to persue a career in medicine.

Anonymous said...

I am currently a third year medical student and am already over 200K in debt from undergrad/medical student loans. I plan to be entering a residency for 4 more years (plus another 3 if I get a fellowship) where i will earn 40-50k a year, and working 80-100 hours/week and get out, expecting to get paid 90K a year if I'm lucky (I plan to work in NYC, a very doctor-oversaturated city, but my home for 25 years).

Since pursuing this career, I have given up my entire social life, my boyfriend dumped me because I didn't have "enough time" for him, my friends have written me off since not having time to see them, my family thinks i'm crazy that I have gone into this field. I spent the first two years of med school in a cubicle studying 18 hours a day straight, breaking only for the bathroom and a snack. I felt guilty if I watched television for a half and hour or called my family on the phone. The only thing keeping me going is knowing that I will be helping people and saving lives when I get out.

I do not expect to be paid big bucks at the end.
If I had to do it all over again I would unfortunately have to follow the same path because I can't see myself doing anything else except helping people. However, I advise anyone thinking of going into this field to go into ANYTHING ELSE if they are even remotely interested in something besides medicine. You sacrifice your life for a career that pays minimally (especially after having to pay malpractice insurance-sometimes half of your salary-, staff, having to deal with insurance companies, etc). Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The america school system is so bullshit. I went through 5 years of pharmacy school and now I am a pharmacist. Let me tell you, you really just need 3 yrs of pharmacy educations to be a really good pharmacist. the first 2 yrs was all these garbage courses like bio,chem,math, philosophy..things you won't remember or need in your career. the university just wanted money from the students. I am sure it is the same for doctors. they don't need 11 years educations to be a doctor. There are alot of bullshit courses they shouldn't have to take in order to graduated..money and time wasted just so the university can make money. Now the doctor complain about too many years in school so they need to be compensate and the public have to pay for it. Correct this problem by first force all the universities in USA to STOP MAKING students taking bullshit courses that HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEIR PROFESSION.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last poster. Thanks retarded undergrad system, I learned about jack shit for 4 years before learning real things in medical school. Maybe condense the actually useful courses in undergrad into 1 year, and let doctors get on with their education.

neoxavien0101 said...

am i seriously reading this??? doctors dont make enough money??? people dont become doctors for the money??? this is 100% bullshit. every single med student i have met at the science program at the University of Toronto has told me they are there to become doctors and move to the U.S. so they can get rich. yes doctors pay a lot for their extensive education and yes they work long hours, but in the small town i was from in kansas, the two wealthiest people in town were the 2 doctors who made $250,000/year in a town of 1800 people. no one in a town that size could dream of making that kind of money. and who cares if doctors are in debt after school! considering they drive around mercedes, own cottages, and go on luxurious trips to the Caribbean, i really dont think they are suffering! doctors in huge cities in the U.S. make millions per year, such as specialists. im not saying doctors dont deserve to live well for the work they do but jesus christ, anyone who thinks doctors dont make enough money or are these saintly do-gooders is either a doctor themselves or has their head up their ass. the whole problem in our society is the ridicules "american dream" that anyone can charge everyone whatever they want. limits and boundaries are good for humanity and letting all these people run around making millions off of the poor and diseased is just an extension of how disgustingly spoiled americans and people who live in the "west" have become. if you cant live on $250,000/year then your a spoiled, whiny baby who probably grew up rich anyway.

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled on this thread and can't believe how old it is! I used to think that doctors are overpaid but I think the problem is mostly that the distribution is terrible, with the highest earners skewing the view of the public. I suspect this is likely to do the inefficiency in the market in setting those pays. Eliminate the inefficiencies and fix the pay.

As an engineer, I look not just for explanations but also for solutions. Under the current system I could certainly agree that many doctors are at least fairly paid if not underpaid but I see few if any comments here about whether there is a way to do it cheaper while maintaining or improving quality. Engineers are accustomed to doing this but few in the medical profession are and as Obama put it, it is bankrupting this country. For example: do doctors need 4 yrs at an undergraduate school? do all doctors need to be American or can we let the top doctors in other countries immigrate, where they are trained more cheaply? do doctors need to work 80-100hr/wk? would the equivalent of "code reviews" be more cost effective than malpractice insurance? Our system has problems and it needs soloutions, not whining.

As to the other engineers talking about the guaranteed $150k, I went to a top10 engineering school and got a double engineering master's degrees. Living in Boston, I still make slightly less than $100k/yr with 8yrs exp and outstanding reviews every year. Most recruiters will tell you that's "in the pocket" for someone like myself. Most of us get small bonuses infrequently, little or no lottery upside (options have to be expensed now), high likelihood of becoming unemployable when older, low job stability, few choices of where to work, etc. This is in the real private workforce, not the government consulting borg that most other engineers are referring to.

There are shortages of engineers and doctors and I think the pay of both of these is too low for different reasons. We should all keep in mind that there's a finite amount of wealth in this world so it's equally as interesting to note that there's too much wealth in the rest of the professions. Granted that's a much harder discussion to have, there's much more interesting waste in other places than either of these, for example, the banking-consulting-lawyering borg.

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Informed Consent said...

The median gross income among internal medicine physicians is $205,441.7 The median gross income among high school teachers, including the value of benefits but excluding their pension, is about $50,000 per year.10 Accounting for time spent training, student loan debt, years worked, hours worked per year and disproportionate income taxes – the net adjusted hourly wage of an internist is $34.46 per hour, while that of a high school teacher is $30.47 per hour. Though the gross income of an internal medicine physician is 4 times that of a high school teacher, the adjusted net hourly wage of an internal medicine physician is only 1.13 times that of a high school teacher. Most people would argue that high school teachers are not paid enough, yet for some reason most people would also argue that physicians are paid too much.
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Informed Consent said...

Physicians spend about 40,000 hours training and over $300,000 on their education, yet the amount of money they earn per hour is only a few dollars more than a high school teacher. Physicians spend over a decade of potential earning, saving and investing time training and taking on more debt, debt that isn’t tax deductible. When they finish training and finally have an income – they are taxed heavily and must repay their debt with what remains. The cost of tuition, the length of training and the U.S. tax code places physicians into a deceptive financial situation.
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Anonymous said...

Coach is on crack... 2 years to train any "smart college" student to be good specialist? WTF can you teach in 2 years.. jesus.. even High school is 4 years and tell me how much people learned from that.. anyways I don't think doctors get paid too much.. just considering all the training they had to do and all the time the need to give up. There has to be a balance. Also malpractice insurance are just nuts.. some doctors have to pay up to 1/3 of their salary to malpractice insurance. BOTTOM LINE is doctors HAVE to get compensated for what they do.. tell a doctor they get paid too much when you have a tumor in your brain and you need his help to remove it. k thanks

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Anonymous said...

Doctors are paid too much and they charge too much.

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Anonymous said...

Anyone who makes a six figure income is well paid, regardless of their educations, or the amount of hours they work!

Try living on eight, nine, or ten dollars an hour, and see how stressful life can be.

Doctors are not Gods. People pay doctors good money for what they do, and therefore should expect good quality care. Therefore, people should not be expected to be grateful and indebted to their doctor.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

Doctors are not Gods. People pay doctors good money for what they do, and therefore should expect good quality care. Therefore, people should not be expected to be grateful and indebted to their doctor.

I say:

Don't let any American doctor hear you say that. If a doctor knew you (or anyone else) felt that way, he would probably throw a temper tantrum and, in addition, refuse to treat you. That's what US doctors do when they don't get their way or when people are not constantly praising them.

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Randy said...

Found this old post when looking for an answer to a question. Maybe you can help.

The main part of this discussion is over whether doctors are overpaid or whether they deserve their pay relative to the education, training etc. That's not exactly relevant to my question.

In years past, doctors were paid very little. Often they were paid on a barter system (in the west with chickens, eggs, etc). A quote I found said "Physicians did not grow rich."

Today, doctors are paid better. I don't think anyone would argue that doctors are paid lower than the average citizen.

My question is simply, when did doctors start making more money?

Anonymous said...

Let's just speak from personal experience here. It depends certainly on what specialty you are in on what salary you earn. I am a Board Certified Family Physician - meaning I went to 4 years of undergraduate school (throw in 2 years to obtain a masters degree in Microbiology - don't know what I was thinking there), 4 years in Medical school and 3 years in a Residency program. All of this added up to about $150,000 of student loan debt ($2500/month) as I did not come from a wealthy family. Your "good ole" Primary care doc like myself, makes anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000 per year (look it up). I have seen posts on here about salaries upwards to $400,000 - these are anesthesiologists, interventional radiologists, etc - highly specialized Drs. Your average PCP, Ob/GYN, Pediatrician, etc, does not fall into this category.

After working for "the man" (a large unfeeling HMO for about 5 years and on the edge of burn out, trying to see the 35 patients daily required of me, which ultimately leads to poor patient care), I resigned and idealistically started my own private practice. Well, guess what - with Medicare cuts, Insurance companies who deny payments unless you can justify that you and your patient have jumped through multiple hoops, I got paid a total of $50,000 my first year in take home salary, $70,000 my second year and about $50,000 my 3rd year. We have just gone out of business, because a good, well-meaning practice, where I spend NO less than 20-25 minutes per patient and up to 40 min (WHATEVER that pt requires) and make it a rule not to see more than 18-20 patients daily, I could not survive. I have had to sell out to another big corporation in order to avoid bankruptcy, yet am in BIG debt to banks, after putting everything in to this practice that I have always dreamed of. You see, I am one of those doctors (there are still some of us out there) that care about patients and want to do it right. Money was not my motivating factor, but you have to make enough to stay alive and pay off your debt. Now, I am again salaried for a whopping $100,000 year. I have taken a moonlighting job at an urgent care clinic for eight extra 8 hr shifts per week as well to make ends meet (working a total of about 80-90 hrs per week). Unfortunately unable to see my two small children in this process.

Those of you who are not in the medical field - who are not doctors, PAs, nurses- just cannot truly understand what is happening in this world of medicine. Someone in an earlier post asked "why should Dr's make so much more money?" Well, other than the years of training and student loan payback, you have to realize that every time we enter a patient room, we are constantly living under the threat of losing a patient under our own misjudgement(so we have to be ON AT ALL TIMES - we cannot have a "bad" day), we work under the constant threat of law suits(which make our lives extremely stressful), the threat of being reported to the Medical Board - which even if valid or not, can still cause stress and heartache for months and ruin your reputation; ratings on the internet which can be put in by anyone - patients, even those angry because they owe you $ or even disgruntled ex-employees (valid or not valid, we cannot respond due to privacy issues), and just plain old customer service now that medicine has become a "McDonald's Industry". When we bill for our services, we get paid about 1/6, if that, of our charges and are denied others frequently. Also, not to mention the hours of time spent, when we are not seeing patients, reviewing labs, documents, signing orders, making phone callbacks, attending committee meetings, etc, which we are not paid for. The field of Medicine is like no other.

No wonder that Doctors have the second most common rate of suicide in the United States (behind Dentists)!

Doctors are not over paid - this is such a misconception propagated by insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. This is where your health care dollars are going.

Anonymous said...

I,m tired of hearing that doctors should be paid high as they involve in saving lives.
Please don't forget who designed your MRI scanner, CT scanner etc.. and not only that, what about u stethescope. Thanks to smart engineers you guys practice medicine. If you truly look at it in an analytical point treating a patient is a REPAIR job. Whereas engineering is a design job. Engineering is not about cramming Latin words or else about stitching a muscle. Person needs to have a good analytical thinking to come up with these new inventions that engineers do. Shouldn't they be paid higher than REPAIRERS?

Highest salaries in the medical field attract the best in the class. But what they ultimately do is repair work in the medical profession( repairing human bodies). Then who is going to do the engineering work that needs real intellectual abilities, and also who does research work in academia?
Answer is the bitter truth. Its the cream of Indians and Chinese imported, as American cream is busy in repairing human bodies.

As long as we keep sky high salaries in the medical field, we will continue to see this trend and the long term impact of this is dreadful.

Where are the American researchers and engineers? They busy in stitching and repairing human bodies.

Appreciate any views opposing this.

Anonymous said...

It is easy to say that physicians are hard working and discouraged about the salary they earn, but this is far from the truth. It is unfortunate that now they have even gone into lying after earning at least 150K as the minimum wage.

1. The argument of 100K debt is not an argument for any person at least with a little brain. Any idiot would realize how much time it will take a person to pay off 100K debt when he earns
a) 150K fixed salary before bonuses(for group physicians, where most are now)
b) Either extremely low health insurance pay or else free health insurance for the whole family.

c) free meals.

2. Another argument is, Singers,Athletes, Sports stars, Holywood stars are paid much more than the amount that physicians are paid. Only thing physicians do by brining in these arguments is disgracing the intelligence of the public.

Answer for this stupid argument is simple:
In the world people are paid based on the talents. Name the talents.

Few are:
a) Talent for singing.
b) Talent for Athletics/Sports
c) Talent for Intelligence
d) Talent for Management

So any person who is in top of any of these talents should be paid the highest in the society.

Then the question is where do the doctors belong. I can say definitely its not Intelligence.
Doctoring is actually a REPAIR job (as a verb in the dictionary.com). Eventhough the result is curing a patient, what they actually do is REPAIRING us. Like any other REPAIR job, the same principals same methodology is approached. Here I'm not intending to say that medicine is for fools. All what I'm trying to say is physician job demands less intelligence than the other professional jobs such as research professor or else a design engineer where the talented intelligents should go. They do not know the word of REPAIR in their career. Those careers demand the intelligence in its purest form.

So this concludes that Top Singers, Athletes, Professors and design engineers should be among the highest paying groups of the society.

Now compare the salary of a professor and a salary of a physician.

The things we should do to fix this:

1. Reduce the number of years that it needs to become a physician to 5 years, matching the whole rest of the world. I dont think Americans are that dumb, for them to be taught 8yrs when the whole rest of the world can do the same thing in 5 yrs.

2. Increase the pay to 80K during the residency period.

3. Reduce the number of hours each physician has to work per week to maximum of 50hrs.

Anonymous said...

It is easy to say that physicians are hard working and discouraged about the salary they earn, but this is far from the truth. It is unfortunate that now they have even gone into lying after earning at least 150K as the minimum wage.

1. The argument of 100K debt is not an argument for any person at least with a little brain. Any idiot would realize how much time it will take a person to pay off 100K debt when he earns
a) 150K fixed salary before bonuses(for group physicians, where most are now)
b) Either extremely low health insurance pay or else free health insurance for the whole family.

c) free meals.

2. Another argument is, Singers,Athletes, Sports stars, Holywood stars are paid much more than the amount that physicians are paid. Only thing physicians do by brining in these arguments is disgracing the intelligence of the public.

Answer for this stupid argument is simple:
In the world people are paid based on the talents. Name the talents.

Few are:
a) Talent for singing.
b) Talent for Athletics/Sports
c) Talent for Intelligence
d) Talent for Management

So any person who is in top of any of these talents should be paid the highest in the society.

Then the question is where do the doctors belong. I can say definitely its not Intelligence.
Doctoring is actually a REPAIR job (as a verb in the dictionary.com). Eventhough the result is curing a patient, what they actually do is REPAIRING us. Like any other REPAIR job, the same principals same methodology is approached. Here I'm not intending to say that medicine is for fools. All what I'm trying to say is physician job demands less intelligence than the other professional jobs such as research professor or else a design engineer where the talented intelligents should go. They do not know the word of REPAIR in their career. Those careers demand the intelligence in its purest form.

So this concludes that Top Singers, Athletes, Professors and design engineers should be among the highest paying groups of the society.

Now compare the salary of a professor and a salary of a physician.

Anonymous said...

Physicians are not even Doctors.
In fact I would say these are the biggest crooks in our society. They are just like a merchandiser between the producers and consumers. Chemists, Researchers and Engineers provide them everything they need to do treat the patients, starting from their Stethescope to the MRI scanners etc.. These guys use these and earn millions, while researchers find it hard to pay their own health insurance.

We need an immedicate fix for this unfair salary stucture.

Read this WSJ: Are Physicians Really Doctors?

http://www.design.caltech.edu/erik/Misc/Doctors.html

Anonymous said...

mThink of it this way.

1) I never get to call in sick.
2) On a moment-by-moment basis, what I do, the individual responsibility I take, is greater than anything almost any engineer undertakes. There is an immediate mission critical aspect. It's called life-and-death.
3) I produce - a lot. Try doing things at my pace. Try dictating at half the speed I do. Try running place-to-place. It's an 18 hour day crammed into a twelve hour day.
4) Dear engineer, I was better than you in school. Sorry, this is a statistical fact. You might be smart, but we worked harder and jumped through more hoops - oh, and we're just as smart.
5) I trained more. Unless you tripple-PhD'ed, you didn't rack up the hours. It's not just the nine years after college, it's the fact that it was more like 14 years crammed into nine.
6) Where were you this weekend? I spend 30 hours in the hospital every other weekend, plus overnight call. That's half a full time job right there. A lot of the reason we get paid a lot is that we do the work of two to three people.
7) Quality control. Dear Psychologist - the rigors of my training are much higher than yours. How do I know? Because I, pretty much like every other doctor, knows their academics and pretty much could have chosen anything. I doubt you could have chosen medical school.
8) Getting into our profession is a very selective process. For the most part, motivated and hard-working people get here.

Sorry, we earned it. Oh, and when you try to use nurse practitioners, it's just as expensive. Imagine that, lots of money for hard working, talented people who could plan ahead.

Anonymous said...

Dear fireman,

How good were you in school? How goal oriented were you? Your job is not nearly as hard. You are a frat boy doing a frat boy's job. And you face much of the same hazards as a drunken frat boy on a balcony. Oh, and do you mind if I ask how much intelligence your job takes?

Also, let's talk about how you get a ridiculous pension and get to retire at age 55 on the taxpayers' back.

In 3 months I can do what you can do. Call me out on it, as long as you are willing to do what I do.

mrkuple said...

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Anonymous said...

to averyone that thinks they are better than doctors, and that all doctors are assholes.... The reason doctors get paid highly is because that the job they do IS worth that compensatoin. How much would you pay someone to save your childs life??? Unless you have done this job you can't truly understand or appriciate it. lets say your a pissed off plumber replying to this forum saying that doctors make too much, and you dont make enough. Your job is deffinetly undesireable, and it takes a vast knowledge that i will never have, however you dont make decisions that will kill the 5 year old laying in front of you. Your not the ones that have to tell the parents their newborn died of traumatic cardiac arrest because he fell off of their kitchen table. A woman sued a friend of mine who is a paramedic for a quarter million dollars because he cut her shirt and bra off the the back of an ambulance. his reason for doing that, was so he could begin resucitative efforts. he succesfully brought the woman back from full cardiac arrest only to have her sue two months after. if you think doctors are overpaid then i would suggest talking to one about what they REALLYdo.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is that specialists are grossly overpaid (and over-vacationed, under-worked, and under-stressed).

Paramedics are probably underpaid.

Anonymous said...

This is just a general statement. Many professions face the same amount of risk and stress but are paid less/more because of how competitive or how hard entrance is. My wife is a high school teacher, and I think teachers are just as significant as doctors (influence and bring up perhaps the doctors of future generations etc). However, the entrance into teaching is ridiculously easy for a doctors standards. Just the entrance test (MCAT vs CSET) and GPA requirements are miles apart. I can assume nearly every doctor can pass the CSET but not every teacher can score well on the MCAT (this of course is done after studying for the exams). So I think the huge pay difference between a doctor and a teacher/fireman/scientist etc is the difficulty of getting into that field.

Anonymous said...

Amazing thread of conversation. My husband is a family physician and I can tell you that everyone I meet in the medical profession that is a family physician does not want to practice medicine anymore. They are undervalued and underpaid. What most people don't understand is that they are generalists and are in the business of looking at you as a whole and make decisions about you overall wellbeing and send u to specialists as necessary. In BC,Canada nurse practitioners and midwives are paid higher than family docs but who takes the responsibility when they cannot deal with situations in front of them. Specialists deal with one area of medicine, do not look at all aspects of you and have their role to play . Their lobbies are so powerful that they have deliberately kept the number of new specialists at low levels so as to keep their positions higher and more lucrative and in a position of power. In the meantime people can't get a family physician to look after them as there is a huge shortage and they can't see a specialist for months because he is busy! At least if they had a family physician he could determine the best course of action and be the patients advocate and coordinate his total wellbeing. If u are paid $150000 as a family physician by the time you have paid your staff, your liability insurance and college fees, lease or building space supplies and equipment you are not left with more than about $90000 from which u also have to pay your own medical expenses and health costs as well as extended health and all of this for providing 24/7 coverage ( sorry on call is NOT paid), working all hours of the day, house calls, hospital visits, seeing dying people at home , counseling their families( not paid) fighting with hospitals and specialists to get their patient seen? I'd say damn better to not be in medicine... No my husband doesn't have lots of vacations either because every time we go away he has to consider if we can afford it because not only is he not paid for time off but he still has expenses of staff, office and so on... So if u think that the system would be better without family physicians then wait not much longer because it sure is heading that way.. Only when it is too late will people realize the folly of that. Think of the rural communities who rely solely on family physicians for their health. I know that as a family physician in a rural community my husband was often in dire situations of having to cut someone open because there were no other options.. No specialist would live in a rural community as he is too specialized to see enough people! So family physicians are a dying breed of doctors whose true value will not be seen until they are at very very low levels in the profession. Ps specialists get on call, offices paid for in hospitals, and make a lot of money because they restrict entry into their speciality

Anonymous said...

I don't think most Americans realize that specialists are paid 3 times or 4 times more than a non-specialist (e.g., an internist). The specialists typically work fewer hours and have shorter work weeks and more vacation weeks than non-specialists.

The American public should be educated about where there health care dollars are going. I believe if the public realized that the $15,000 (on average for a single person) they are paying into the health care system (full cost of premiums, Medicare deductions, out-of-pocket expenses), was going to support the specialists short work weeks and long vacations, I believe things would change quickly.

Currently, the system (i.e., extremely high pay to specialists) is out of control.

RJ F said...

I think doctors are underpaid as well. There are so many doctors who work harder than necessary to do their job, and all they get back is what a insurance company feels that service was worth.

Josh said...

Here's the deal. I'm a student, studying for medicine and this is what it breaks down to. Undergrad easily puts me at a 80k debt. Med-school? Same thing. Thats 160k Debt without any savings. Now here comes the next part, residency. Literally, after 8 years of schooling, we still make shit salary from 3-8 years. Less then what teachers make a lot of time. Now here's the thing, after 11-16 years of working their ass off to become ones who DON'T kill you. People want to pay then LESS than what they're paid now? No. Doctors should be paid more and Lawyers should be paid less. A lot of the reason why medicine in general is expensive is NOT FROM THE DOCTORS, IT'S THE INSURANCE. For instance, Anesthesiologists, they pay 20-40% of pay to insurance, to compensate, they make more money. Also, extra tests are ran on each patient to cover every angle because greedy Americans are looking for an easy buck. AKA Suing. If you guys want to complain at the cost of Medicine, look to Law, where people want to find loop holes and be parasitic off of peoples hard earned cash. HARD EARNED.

Anonymous said...

Here's the deal. I'm a consumer, paying for medical care in the US and this is what it breaks down to. Specialists are paid, on average, about $450K/yr for about 40 hrs/wk with 4-6 wks vacation per year. With that kind of income, there is no reason $160k in debt can't be paid off within a couple years while, at the same time, building up savings. Now here comes the next part, after 11-16 years of working their asses off, LIKE A LOT OF OTHER PROFESSIONALS, there is no reason the specialists shouldn't be happy with ONLY $250K/yr, working 50-60 hrs/wk, with only 2 weeks vacation--LIKE A LOT OF OTHER PROFESSIONALS. The post above talks as if EVERY lawyer makes big money. That is FAR FROM THE TRUTH. However, MOST SPECIALISTS make huge money for working short hours. A lot of the reason why medicine in general is expensive is NOT FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANIES, but from SPECIALISTS' FEES. After paying their insurance premiums, Anesthesiologists are still compensated very well (about $400K-$500K per year for working 40 hour weeks). Also, extra tests are run on each patient because greedy SPECIALISTS are looking for an easy buck--AKA higher fees. If you guys want to complain at the high cost of Medicine, look to the SPECIALISTS, since they feel entitled to work short hours, take 4-6 weeks of vacation, and have take home salaries (after paying insurance premiums) that average about $450K per year (i.e., be parasites off of patients' hard earned cash. HARD EARNED.

Anonymous said...

Cont. from above---

American doctors (particularly Specialists) need to stop thinking of themselves first, and start putting the patients' needs (and incomes) first.

After reading the medical student's above post (2 posts above), I want to vomit. That is exactly the type of person who we need to eliminate from the US medical system. There are plenty of good US doctors, but that person will NOT be one of them.

Anonymous said...

I think it should depend on the doctor, even family doctors. Ya ya so you went through a lot to become a doctor, but that was your choice, nobody forced you to not become a highly paid lawyer or fortune 500 CEO. Going through rigorous training is no justification for high salary if you treat your patients like some inferior beings. A lot of doctors have terrible manners and sometimes you can tell that they're thinking: why on earth would you do that? Don't you know the kaflabergast tubes are very sensitive? Or something along that line. These doctors should be paid minimum wage. I've also had good doctors, you know, the ones that actually cares about their patients, surprisingly, many don't care! What they should do is give the bad doctor's income to the good doctors, cos all they do is mistreat the patients till they finally found a good doctor anyway! Seriously, stop whining and start caring! We all get sick, and if we all received quality health care from outstanding professionals, I think few would cry foul about Doctor's salaries. The fact that people think doctors are overpaid is because they've had their share of bad doctors, which just means they have to keep going until they found a good one. You will not find a single patient will ever think that a good doctor is overpaid, heck, a good doctor is worth his/her weight in gold and the only thing that separates the good from the bad is being a caring person. It's those jaded doctors with a strong sense of entitlement that people despise. You know, the type who thinks that the hardest part of being a doctor is school, whose idea of being a doctor means relaxation. No, society does not pay you because you studied hard and put a lot of work in the past; society pays you for your hard work now.

Anonymous said...

It's like asking a thief if he really robbed the jewelery! You go to a doctor and is always late by at least 45 minutes and finally spends just under 2 minutes and writes a prescription. Wait for the billing statement and see charges ranging from $350 to $600. Am not kidding. We see so much innovation and competition in the technology area which made these gadgets like pc, cell phone, damn cheap. And engineers also help build medical instruments without which doctors are useless. US wanted engineers and allowed foreign engineers to come and work here with no issues. They should do the same for doctors. That's when these lucky bastards(doctors) will learn their lesson. These doctors really make easy money with the current system.

Casual said...

Doctors in US are overpaid - period. How many other professions pay more than a 100k in starting salary for fresh out-of-college graduates?

Now, I understand that Physicians have to go to college for several years and possibly incur a lot of student-loans. But that is not a patient's problem. That's a problem with the medical education system and the high standards set for someone to be a Physician in US. Does a family practice Physician who mostly treats common cold and similar illness have to go through so many years of rigorous EXPENSIVE training?

We need to make it easier and cheaper in this country for capable students to become a Physician. We need an increased supply of doctors in the society.

Will said...

"Price is all about supply and demand. Let more people study medicine, keep the same rigorous training and we should have the same quality of doctors at lower prices."

I agree 100%. The physicians' guild limits labor supply in order to prop up compensation. High medical costs are a big drag on the U.S. economy - and we need to bust their guild and sense of entitlement.

Anonymous said...

So if anyone thinks they're over paid, tell me, who deserves make 200k+ a year? I bet that every person who said that doctors are over paid never spent more than 4 years let alone more than 8 years in university/college/med school, let alone busting their ass to get INTO it!

I would bet those same ungreatful people don't realize what its got to be like to sacrifice years of living a normal or comfortable lifestyle, being able to have children whenever you want, and don't understand the extreme debt educated people are faced with!

Doctors aren't paid highly because they're "superior", they are paid for the years and years of skills they had to learn and master in order to be qualified to saves YOUR life. If you think they're over paid then let a nurse perform your grandmother's open heart surgery and we'll lower the doctors pay and lessen the education requirements to 4 years so they can live on your level :)

Anonymous said...

Do you really think someone should go to school for 10+ years and not be entitled to make 150 000?? LoL really? Maybe if some of you had enough brains, motivation and were able to sacrifice the same things these doctors did then you'd be able to make that much yourself and have a right to complain that its not enough.these comments are clearly coming from people with no education or respect for people who worked their ASSES off to get one!

Ancil said...

Nah Doctors no longer get all dat much money any more http://moneyisnolongerrare.blogspot.com/

doctors in hill country village said...

I also want to be clear about this. I do believe that not all doctors get too much money. I know some doctor who are don't have high salaries.

Anonymous said...

From what I understand, doctors that perform procedures (typically specialists) have salaries that are about 3-4 times those of doctors that do not perform procedures (typically primary care doctors).

Unknown said...

I am a little late with this comment. I am recently revisiting this comment. I was in high school I first read, and now I am in my first year of medical school. Due to a Nation where greed exist this topic has become somewhat pointless. How would you honestly feel after going through 15 years of mind boggling school and training only to earn what someone earns with NO degree. Let us be serious. I saw a previous comment saying that doctors can be trained in every bit of two years. Can you honestly say that if you were going under the scapel that you wouldnt mind someone you gave a 2 month crash course on surgery. The body is more than just a brain, lungs, and heart. Youhave to leave how and why things react they do. Such as different medications with certain symptoms. If you want to complain about salaries? How about Nation wide fixed taxes, that way ALL OF YOU can pay a hefty 40 percent of your income to Uncle Sam. Pick on gas companies, pick on start athletes, pick on CEOs of walmart, but DO NOT pick on the people WILL come running to when you break your leg or have a myocardial infarction. You pay for what you get. I would never wish harm on anyone, I hope to save many lives. But trying to cut a Physicians Salary is rude. You dont seem to mind getting paid for your mediocre performance at work. So you really should mind us getting paid a nice salary for cutting cancer out your brain and extending YOUR life from 2 extra months to 20 + Years. This is a very debatable topic for inconsiderate individuals. But I am always available if you would like for me to listen to your opinion, and then allow you to hear mine

Unknown/Brad said...

cont. from the post right above i posted. My dad is an OBgyn, and he still isnt able to fully pay things off. He drives a 1999 Suburban, works like a dog, for what? not for his health. Yet he still takes patients into consideration doing multiple tax write off. WHY? because its citizens like YOU who do not pay him. Just get your service and leave. So what are the complaints, you arent paying anyway. Oh ya, and Next time you have a problem with doctors making too much. When you come limping into his office or holding your heart. Go ahead and reach for your wallet. Wager to YOURSELF if the price is really worth your life (or care.) No? you still choose to go through and pick up your prescription or surgery?

Anonymous said...

Most doctors are underpaid....

A UPS driver would retire with the same amount of money if he started out of high school and worked as many hours as a doctor. Don't forget that doctors don't even get out of debt until they are about 40 years old.

So for all you uneducated fools that watch Doctor shows and think it is one big fantasy of sex in the hospital and rolling in money, shadow a real doctor for a day and get a grip.

There are plenty of jobs out there with rediculous salaries that work 40 hours a week and require the brain power of a chimp. If you wanna complain about salaries, complain about marketing managers, and bankers.

Anonymous said...

There is no point arguing with the people who asserted that doctors are overpaid. Not to be arrogant, but the majority of people just do not have the mental capacities and sanity to appreciate what doctors do. I dont blame the blue collar worker who work for 8 dollar and hour, come in to see a doctor for 15 min without insurance and get charged 100 bucks. He must think the doctor must be making a fortune. Unfortunately, most of the money is used to paid malpractice insurance, his staff and the cost of operating his private practice. Anyway, I do not worry that doctor salary will be significantly cut because AMA is a very successful lobbyist group that will always keep the interests of its members in checks. Also, the babyboomer generation is going to required more healthcare in these next decades so all professions in health going to be much more demanded. This being said, there are doctors who are making more than they deserved (i.e derm, rad) and those who are making less (spine othorpedics, er, family practice). So I rly think the salaries will be adjusted in the near future.
PS. fact: you can rest assured that noone want to be a doctor solely for the money, even the derm, the works and the sacrifices (ALL of your 20s where other people mate and drink all the time and having the time of their lives, you are gonna be buried in books). Most will be weeded out in undergrad course and mcat.

Anonymous said...

To the above posts proposing a larger amount of student getting into med school while keeping the same training. This in fact would work very well ONLY if you do not count the fact that there are limited residency seats in academia hospitals. This is because few lisenced doctor would want to stay in these teaching hospital and make a salary while they would make considerable more if they are working in private practice. Plus, the fact that you have to cover for most intern mistakes are uninviting. Also, increasing the number of admitted student equals lower falcuty to student ratio, which would result in a diminished quality in the education provided. Chances are the number of doctor to population will only increased slightly to the population getting old but not drasticly to the point of reduced physicians salary.

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Anonymous said...

Do professional athletes, actors, and musicians pay commensurate with the hours, responsibility,training, debt, etc ? etc?

RK said...

Another points i wish to make are:

1. Paying Physicians should not be an issue for people. The question is while u are sad paying a careless doctor more, would you care to pay a good doctor more?

2. There are different types of doctor in the world we live just like mechanics with different expertise, some may be able to fix minor problems only. Another expert can fix anything you bring to him. If u start preferring someone at a cheaper price who can do your common fixes, well then there won't be anyone left who you would turn to when it's beyond him to fix you. So training as much as we do is necessary for people who are serious for everything little thing we do for them turns out to be crucial for life and death.

3. An engineer posted something about making decisions that thousands of life depend on. Doctors should be researchers according to me, as a person cannot just do research knowing what T value is, what an ANOVA is etc etc. A hypothesis requires a person with knowledge. A misdirected hypothesis is just a waste of time and resources.
Doctors make decision too through their researches that can impact thousands of patients with that disease worldwide. In fact the Challenge is Human body works in more different ways than one could imagine and one thing that has been told to us from the beginning.
>> Anything can happen in Medicine<<

RaKa said...

Another points i wish to make are:

1. Paying Physicians should not be an issue for people. The question is while u are sad paying a careless doctor more, would you care to pay a good doctor more?

2. There are different types of doctor in the world we live just like mechanics with different expertise, some may be able to fix minor problems only. Another expert can fix anything you bring to him. If u start preferring someone at a cheaper price who can do your common fixes, well then there won't be anyone left who you would turn to when it's beyond him to fix you. So training as much as we do is necessary for people who are serious for everything little thing we do for them turns out to be crucial for life and death.

3. An engineer posted something about making decisions that thousands of life depend on. Doctors should be researchers according to me, as a person cannot just do research knowing what T value is, what an ANOVA is etc etc. A hypothesis requires a person with knowledge. A misdirected hypothesis is just a waste of time and resources.
Doctors make decision too through their researches that can impact thousands of patients with that disease worldwide. In fact the Challenge is Human body works in more different ways than one could imagine and one thing that has been told to us from the beginning.
>> Anything can happen in Medicine<<

August 13, 2011 12:58 PM

Anonymous said...

ok listen up people! it is somewhat true many doctors are underpaid and overpaid. in every profession there is someone who is always overpaid and always underpaid, its like something to do with class systems here in America,and connections. i think many doctors dont make as much money as lawyers,sports players,moviestars,models,and teachers/psychologists.


i think the main interest for people going into medicine is a personal interest amused and fascinated with science and wanting to really help people.
of course now in today's society everyone is in it for the money, but i dont think people going into medicine are in it for the money because many other professions make 100X more money than doctors.

dont believe me? my dad is an uneducated businessman didnt even finish highschool and he owns 2 convienent stores and he makes nearly 800,000 to 1 million a year.

thats more money than some of the best surgeons and top physicians in the medical field.

now of course maybve my dad had some connections but he just worked really hard and struggled.

going into medicine is just having a real interest its not about the money.

i think doctors deserve to make good money but doctors are really never overpaid unless your Dr.Oz bullshitting people with a smile and setting up talk shows rather than practicing at a hospital. but lol look at Dr.Oz now he has cancer, thats what he gets for bullshitting people.

anyways dont listen or follow the stereotypes many doctors dont make too much money!

H said...

I think doctors are underpaid for the work they have to do and so are a lot of other jobs but that's a different matter.
There really isn't much to debate because that's pretty much a fact but what really struck me was that several people have called doctors uneducated and that these engineers greatly outsmart doctors?
I'm sure getting the requirement of being in the top 10% in their class to apply for medical school makes the doctor one of THE smartest of their graduating class. If the doctor chose to he could have join engineering, I doubt the situations could be reversed for the majority of individuals. Singers and movie stars are paid dozens because we can't mimic what they do, the world pays those who have talents, and doctors must've had some talents to get into medical school.
So those getting paid high can do things others usually cannot, its a harsh fact but it's true. Doctors could've became something else but chose not to, the engineer probably couldn't have accomplished the same. We pay people for things we can't do: accept it.

Anonymous said...

Blog on physician salaries in USA

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

A doctor's av. salary is between $140,000 & $340,000 & the loan is $160,000.

The median is $210,000. If you pay off the $160,000 in 10 years, that's 8%.

That's no justification for making nearly a quarter of a million per year. Furthermore with only 1 year of experience, even $140,000 is too high.

Anonymous said...

H regarding your comment that doctors should be paid based on how others can't do what they do. Do you think most doctors are able to fix cars or prepare meals? The way society is structured requires people to specialize in a certain field, so you can argue your point with almost any professional field. Although I see what you are trying to get at, I don't think it's the primary reason doctors are paid as much they do. Or if it is then it shouldn't be. Technically most human have the capacity to be a doctor if they really wanted to. As long as you have a normal brain and have the motivation then you can be a doctor. Sure it's hard but you can do it. I have met brilliant individuals that could have become doctors but chose another field because they didn't find medicine interesting.

ricky said...

I've read several responses to this post and this is what I have to say. It absolutely sounds like most people don't go into medicine to make money. The amount of debt, school, and time away from family and friends they sacrifice is mind boggling. The lifestyle of a doctor sounds hectic and my mom was an oncology nurse so i know how hard it is when you get home to leave your job at the hospital door. The person who posted about his wife losing her first patient was a good example of the emotional strain placed on them daily. My conclusion in this is that it's not about the money. It's about our quality of life. It's not about what you're compensated for in money. It's about how you spend your time. A high salary is not a just compensation for the lifestyle doctors and other people have to live because of their job requirements. Yes at least they have that but success and happiness can not be measured in money. I believe people should live happy, healthy lives. The working conditions in hospitals and many other facilities make this an impossibility. And I don't believe the problem lies in the profession itself. It's the system. The guy who posted about his girlfriend who is in her intern residency year and how she only has 4 days off a month and each one of those days off she has to work a 30 hour shift with 0-3 hours of sleep during those days. I'm just shocked at the lifestyle required to become a physician. It's unhealthy and should not be that way! What is wrong with the world when people have to live like that in order to have a career. It pisses me off. It shouldn't be this way and doesn't have to be. I just wish I knew how to change it. I believe it will happen and I will play a role. I hope you believe in positive change too and that you will play a role as well.

Anonymous said...

It is disheartening to read some of these posts. Doctors examine our bodies and our minds.....complex to say the least. The seek to look into their patient's body to determine if anything serious is going on. They read between the lines to determine what might really be bothering that patient. To think that they are overpaid is downright offensive. I am married to a doctor. We do not have fancy cars and my husband works very long hours. There have been years on end that he worked straight night shifts in the hospital emergency room. We have not been on a vacation in the past three years. It hurts to hear how naive some people are; therefore how unappreciative they are. We have not traveled. Yes, specialists do well....but primary doctors, pediatricians....they are at the bottom of the heap. I can only hope that my posting will make people think about the complexities of their bodies and what it takes to evaluate them. It's not about ordering tests, it's about knowing which ones to order and what the results may mean. To those without gratitude, wake up and educate yourself. Understand the complexities of practicing medicine....and realize that it is not pleasant dealing with patients with an arrogant attitude and with a lack of respect and appreciation.

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Anonymous said...

The post above that states "Yes, specialists do well....but primary doctors, pediatricians....they are at the bottom of the heap" explains a lot.

I am not a doctor but, instead, a health care consumer in the US.

My experiences have shown me that the (overpaid) specialists are also the most arrogant and unappreciative toward the patient. They don't seem to understand the patient is the one paying the specialists' outrageous fees.

There is a HUGE distinction between primary care and specialist doctors. The specialists make all of the doctors look bad. That's probably why some patients treat primary care doctors poorly.

The US health care consumers and the US primary care doctors should band together to put the US specialists in their place (and lobby our representatives in Congress to cut Medicare reimbursements to specialists down to about 1/4 of what they are now). Private insurance companies would follow Medicare's examples and then cut their reimbursements to specialists.

Anonymous said...

totally agree with the article.
in fact, doctors work so many hours and therefore deserve the pay. considering the amount of time and hard work they put in to reach that stage, they dont deserve to be paid less.
doctors are even more underpaid in the UK - although the workweek is much lower, the average consultant will get around $150k for a 50 hour work week (including oncall and overtime).
the people who say doctors are overpaid just dont have enough money themselves - they dont realize the amount of hard work put in.

Anonymous said...

The IMPORTANT POINT is that many specialists in the US work VERY SHORT hours (e.g., 35 hours per week) for the VERY HUGE salaries ($500K plus) they are paid.

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Yes doctors really make to much money but they deserve it goes they save lives ;)

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Desiree said...

"In Europe docs make less than half the AVERAGE salary of a US certified physician, with a considerably higher cost of living in some countries...and yet people want to study medicine no matter what. So please drop the argument that no one would go into medicine if pays were slashed..."

While doctors in most of Europe make significantly less than doctors in the United States it is still a profession worth going into for 3 reasons:

1- they get to help people
2- they have no school debt
3- they still make more than most other professions in those countries

Comparing their salaries to salaries of doctors in the United States doesn't make much sense unless you also want to compare the cost of education, cost of living, healthcare expenses, salaries of other professionals in those countries, etc.

Anonymous said...

Well for one being a medical doctor is not what the general public thinks, and then some. Going into wall street, or some career such as that, can yield bonuses within the first year of getting an investment banking job (sometimes twice or more a 60K starting salary; imagine that folks; although the workload is 80-100 hours per week). This is especially good if you got a scholarship for undergrad and have little debt. Medicine on the other hand is a different picture.

There is a reason that residencies have brought in an 80 hour a week mistreatment policy at most schools. This is because going over 80 hours a week for peanuts in pay for 5 years or more in residency while trying to pay off student loans used to be standard practice, no pun intended. Some schools restrict moonlighting also, which means trying to use your physician training in order to make more money on the side to allow yourself to pay off the terrible mafia of loan collectors.

People that think every doctor starts off in a great salary is in a dream world. Do you know what board scores it takes to get into any specialty? Do you know that maybe as much as 20-30% of doctors are from out of this country, many of which went to the Caribbean for medical school. Getting into internal medicine is even tough from this route.

All this talk about doctors making too much is probably hype stimulated by the insurance agencies and hospitals which rape not only the patient but the medical doctor. There is so much risk to doing procedures, and the amount of hours it takes with each patient is pretty low on a per hour basis in comparison to many other comfy professions.

So please the next time you think a doctor makes too much, realize the amount of time and effort it took to not only get into medical school, but to last through all of the training. Being a doctor is like being below people for so many years getting through the training but remarkably an amazing experience.

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Anonymous said...

Man, I'm a doctor. It just means your smart enough to go where the money is. Most people are there because it pays a handsome amount, and is stable and well-respected. No one is there because they love looking at warts. If they do, that is when they will have to come see me the psychiatrist. Nowhere else can you make more money guaranteed no matter almost what as long as you finish your residency and pass your boards. Only about 2.5% of people make more money then doctors.

And med school is bad, yes. And the practice of medicine is bad yes, but that is why I chose psychiatry. I get paid to chat with you. I don't call that stressful one bit. Now, med school is hard, but depending on specialty you can have a relaxed life. One has to choose, love your life and hate your job or love your job and hate your life. Doctors can choose their hours and can afford a great lifestyle. Yes you waste time in school, but nothing sucks worse then a regular 9 to 5 job anyway, so best delay it.

Anonymous said...

See this article titled: The Great Unmentionable - The role of high salaries and wages in health care inflation.


http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/great-unmentionable_648836.html?nopager=1

This article states what I have been saying for years--"Wages drive high medical costs much more than any other factor...." American doctors need to stop whining and start stepping up to actually do some work for the money they are taking from us. I know a lot of Americans who have a lot of education (maybe one year less than the almighty American doctor) and who work much, much harder (with a lot more stress) than any doctor--for a fraction of the pay.

Most doctors I know are anything but "professionals." Instead, they are just pampered, spoiled brats who throw temper tantrums when someone asks them to justify their salaries. They do that because they know there is no legitimate justification they can give. So, instead, they just act like immature children and give generalities such as "I work hard." They don't seem to care that other people (with lots of education) are working harder for less money--all they think about is themselves.

As noted in the article, American doctors are often times doing the relatively easy, mundane work (e.g., stitching wounds), which could (and should) be performed by lower skilled providers (e.g., nurses)--for a fraction of the cost. American doctors like the fact that they are the only ones allowed to do certain (easy) tasks for boatloads of money.

Come on American doctors, it's time you grow up and start actually thinking about someone besides yourself. Health care costs are a huge drag on the US economy. That drag is created by the American doctors' artificially high salaries. Doctors need to stop whining (and taking all those vacations) and start actually working more hours performing the more difficult tasks (for which they were trained to do, and which will actually cause the doctor to have higher stress levels on the job) for LESS MONEY. Only then will the American doctor truly be a professional.

Anonymous said...

See this article titled: The Great Unmentionable - The role of high salaries and wages in health care inflation.


http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/great-unmentionable_648836.html?nopager=1

This article states what I have been saying for years--"Wages drive high medical costs much more than any other factor...." American doctors need to stop whining and start stepping up to actually do some work for the money they are taking from us. I know a lot of Americans who have a lot of education (maybe one year less than the almighty American doctor) and who work much, much harder (with a lot more stress) than any doctor--for a fraction of the pay.

Most doctors I know are anything but "professionals." Instead, they are just pampered, spoiled brats who throw temper tantrums when someone asks them to justify their salaries. They do that because they know there is no legitimate justification they can give. So, instead, they just act like immature children and give generalities such as "I work hard." They don't seem to care that other people (with lots of education) are working harder for less money--all they think about is themselves.

As noted in the article, American doctors are often times doing the relatively easy, mundane work (e.g., stitching wounds), which could (and should) be performed by lower skilled providers (e.g., nurses)--for a fraction of the cost. American doctors like the fact that they are the only ones allowed to do certain (easy) tasks for boatloads of money.

Come on American doctors, it's time you grow up and start actually thinking about someone besides yourself. Health care costs are a huge drag on the US economy. That drag is created by the American doctors' artificially high salaries. Doctors need to stop whining (and taking all those vacations) and start actually working more hours performing the more difficult tasks (for which they were trained to do, and which will actually cause the doctor to have higher stress levels on the job) for LESS MONEY. Only then will the American doctor truly be a professional.

Anonymous said...

See this article titled: The Great Unmentionable - The role of high salaries and wages in health care inflation.


http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/great-unmentionable_648836.html?nopager=1

This article states what I have been saying for years--"Wages drive high medical costs much more than any other factor...." American doctors need to stop whining and start stepping up to actually do some work for the money they are taking from us. I know a lot of Americans who have a lot of education (maybe one year less than the almighty American doctor) and who work much, much harder (with a lot more stress) than any doctor--for a fraction of the pay.

Most doctors I know are anything but "professionals." Instead, they are just pampered, spoiled brats who throw temper tantrums when someone asks them to justify their salaries. They do that because they know there is no legitimate justification they can give. So, instead, they just act like immature children and give generalities such as "I work hard." They don't seem to care that other people (with lots of education) are working harder for less money--all they think about is themselves.

As noted in the article, American doctors are often times doing the relatively easy, mundane work (e.g., stitching wounds), which could (and should) be performed by lower skilled providers (e.g., nurses)--for a fraction of the cost. American doctors like the fact that they are the only ones allowed to do certain (easy) tasks for boatloads of money.

Come on American doctors, it's time you grow up and start actually thinking about someone besides yourself. Health care costs are a huge drag on the US economy. That drag is created by the American doctors' artificially high salaries. Doctors need to stop whining (and taking all those vacations) and start actually working more hours performing the more difficult tasks (for which they were trained to do, and which will actually cause the doctor to have higher stress levels on the job) for LESS MONEY. Only then will the American doctor truly be a professional.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but no residency is longer than 80 hours a week. Residency isn't that big a deal. They get paid like any other skilled professional starting out in a career. People who invent the cures for disease, create the surgical tools, and allow people to get to the hospital, only usually make about 100K per year and they spend between 8 and 12 years in school and training.

The fact is that superior quality healthcare is available from other places like Canada for a much lower rate even when the higher taxes are factored in so yeah, all healthcare workers are overpaid!

Anonymous said...

wtf is wrong with alllllllllllllll you people doctors are millionares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

See this article titled

The Great Unmentionable
The role of high salaries and wages in health care inflation.

Here's the link: http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/great-unmentionable_648836.html?nopager=1

Anonymous said...

Canadian doctors are a total joke and yes, i woukd prefer to have a pharmacist handing me meds when i need them instead of going through the bullshit of seeing one doc, a specialist six months later and recieving no help in the meantime - i need to work to live as well and doctors in canada are so complacent they have no interest in quick solutions.. Even the emts here walk from their ambulances during an emergency because they couldnt care less.. People in medicine in canada work there for job security nothing else, and it shows. 9/10 of the time i go to paid naturopaths who are not covered but care enough to help me with their md... It cab take years for a simple operation in this country.

Anonymous said...

So basically doctors are like teachers... they go into it knowing the disadvantages -- only to whine about how much they make later down the road.

By the way, a lot of college students leave with $100,000+ in debt. I have no sympathy for that.

Also, MANY workers -- in various fields -- work upwards of 80+ hours each week... most of which is technically off the clock. For that matter, a lot of nurses work just as long... yet they make nowhere near what a doctor makes (and I've yet to see a doctor comment about nurses. Could you do what you do without assistance? No.).

Anonymous said...

YOUR FORGPT TO MENTION!!!! Docs give up their youths! They accumulate debt and responsibility like crazy...and while they get paid during residency it's barely enough to pay their minimum balance on their loans...and loans aren't subsidized anymore...so, as far as I see if, a neurosurgeon doesn't get their first real pay check / job til after residency when they are in their mid-late 30s...and they have a ton of debt (pressure) under them...so, they are finally put into the work force in their mid/late 30s having to work their nail to the bone. So, the way I see it, they don't really get to live life til they are40 years old.


To me, becoming an MD is a HUGE saccrifice. I'm so happy you wrote this article.

Sadly, too many people that commented on your thread still don't understand just what docs have to sacrifice financially, etc, to get where they are.

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