Doctors’ pay cuts save little in health costs – Opinion –

Kevin, MD hits one out of the park:

Doctors’ pay cuts save little in health costs – Opinion –

By Kevin Pho

“Why should I care if doctors get a pay cut?” my patient recently asked me.

Therein lies the delicate dilemma physicians face today. While the common perception is that the medical profession is well-compensated, there are serious implications in targeting physician pay to control medical spending.

To say I concur would be too mild.


  1. Annie Gourieux says:

    I am a patient and I don’t want my doctors to get pay cuts. They work too hard for too little now. What the hell is wrong with your patient’s attitude??

  2. I suppose it’s a leftover meme from the pre-HMO era that doctors make a bajillion dollars an hour and work from Tuesday to Wednesday with hours off between tee-time and happy hour.

    Every administrator and shareholder exerts a financial drag on the medical system without actually providing direct medical care. I am firmly against for-profit health care yet I see no problem paying health care providers (doctors, nurses, lab techs, pharmacists, phlebotomists, janitors, etc.) market value or what they are worth (whichever is higher) to do their job and I will ask my PCP what I can do to make their life easier. I don’t expect my plumber or mechanic to work for free – they are skilled professionals, I trust them to do a job I cannot or will not do, and since I want a long-term relationship with someone I can trust, I want to make sure they get what is coming to them … in a good way.

    Sorry to make that comparison, but it’s true. My mechanic doesn’t expect me to fix his computers for free and I charge him a fair rate and refer him to someone more qualified when I can’t do the job.

    I have to look out for myself first but that doesn’t mean I’m always in competition with my doctor, mechanic, etc. If we can both get what we want without either of us getting screwed, why not cooperate?

  3. TheNewGuy says:

    We already render a huge amount of free care. Nobody recognizes it, nobody cares, and that’s life. They want to cut back the reimbursement still further because they can… it’s easier to cut reimbursement on a few doctors than to cut benefits.

    Face it: class warfare against doctors is dead easy. Everybody believes doctors are rich, and will continue to believe it until they run up against a situation where they literally can’t get care, because it’s no longer financially-viable for physicians to take them on. Only then will it sink in.

    Until then, they’ll keep focusing on the archetypal plastic surgeon/day-spa operator driving a Porsche.

    It’s just the way it is.

  4. I agree with the info Kevin provides about the situation, but solutions are more problematic. I agree that primary care physicians should be paid more (and neurologists should be paid more for non-procedure neurology), but I don’t see that giving more money to primary care docs, or neurologists, automatically offers any solution.

    The harder thing to do is peel medicine away from all shareholder profit situations. The money that goes into healthcare in the form of premiums needs to go to delivering healthcare, not generating profits, not massive CEO salaries and benefits. The more profit they generate, the greedier they get.


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