Doctors make far less money than most people think

A video excerpt from The Vanishing Oath, a film directed by Ryan Flesher, MD.

The average physician salary in the United States is $146,000 — which is undeniably a lot of money at face value.

But it’s a lot less when you factor in the overhead costs that doctors incur.  And that’s not including the medical school debt which, on average, exceeds $150,000.

This clip shows how the take home pay of an average physician today can come out to less than $28 per hour.

Cutting physician salaries will save much less money than most health reformers think. They should best listen to noted Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt who said as much in this New York Times’ letter:

Cutting doctors’ take-home pay would not really solve the American cost crisis. The total amount Americans pay their physicians collectively represents only about 20 percent of total national health spending. Of this total, close to half is absorbed by the physicians’ practice expenses, including malpractice premiums, but excluding the amortization of college and medical-school debt.

This makes the physicians’ collective take-home pay only about 10 percent of total national health spending. If we somehow managed to cut that take-home pay by, say, 20 percent, we would reduce total national health spending by only 2 percent, in return for a wholly demoralized medical profession to which we so often look to save our lives. It strikes me as a poor strategy.