Thursday, November 21, 2013

Not as lucrative as you think.

Doctors are concerned with the rates of pay that they are getting. In the article, Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University, said she was not overly concerned about physicians’ compensation. “I don’t mean to suggest that physicians don’t deserve to do well,” she said. “But physicians are very well-compensated people, no matter what.”

Not as well  as you think. Sure, a doctor makes $200,000 or more a year, but let's compare that to other professions.
A doctor attends college and earns an undergraduate degree. This takes four years, during which the money earned is zero, and tuition, books, and supplies are about $20,000. Room and board are extra.
Then the doctor attends medical school. The school lasts three years, and the money earned is zero. Tuition, books, and supplies are about $225,000. Room and board are extra.
Then the doctor does his residency. This lasts at least a year, during which the resident works 80 hour weeks and makes about $45,000 a year.

So this doctor is now 26 years old and has made $45,000. He now has about $400,000 in student loans that must be repaid. With interest.
So over the 47 years of his working life, he spends the first 8 in school, and ends that first 8 years $355,000 in the hole. If that doctor makes $200,000 a year on average for the remaining 39 years of his working life, the first $50,000 of that will pay for his student loans and the years he was jobless.


Angus McThag said...

Leaving him with $150k a year?

More than I make.

And his choice to make nothing for those first 8 years seems to be a much better one than mine to go into the military for 3, then fuck off for 5...

And the person to blame stares at me in the mirror when I shave.

SiGraybeard said...

After watching my wife go through her cancer treatments, I dropped whatever thoughts I might have had about doctors being overpaid. Yeah, I'm far making from $150 or $200k, but I don't cut people open to repair things, or know that making a single mistake might kill them right then and there. While it's true a bad design might lead to unsafe air flight, there are dozens of people who watch each other to prevent that.

And while I've known a few doctors socially, I've never known anyone who took that responsibility lightly. True, a sociopath or psychopath might not care if they lost patients, but very few of them make it through the selection process.

One of the unintended consequences of the coming health care reform is going to be physicians changing from being essentially dedicated to their patients and available 24/7, to being employees. The kind that go to lunch, leaving a surgery in process, and let patients die for it.

Tam said...

Further, for every neurosurgeon or invasive cardiologist pulling in the Big Union Dollars, there's a small-town GP or stethoscope jockey at the local doc-in-a-box who is making pretty "meh." money in relation to what it took to get there.

Much like airline pilots: Everyone hears "airline pilot" and thinks about the guy in the left seat of a transoceanic 747, and not the gal in the right seat of a RJ flying back and forth between Cleveland and Chicago.

pediem said...

No amount of money is worth the pain in my heart and the tears on my face as I tell grieving parents that I could not save their precious child.

Tam said...

Ouch. :(

Anonymous said...

Also, factor in expenses. Many pay their own malpractice insurance and other business related expenses. This is a large chunk of their pay check. I knew a doctor that had quit to be a carpenter because he actually brought home more money after everything being in construction. He also loved being a carpenter and built some amazing pieces.