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The deceptive income of Physicians


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#1 skullsmasher

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 02:26 PM

http://benbrownmd.wordpress.com/

Interesting read. Basically, after all is said and done, doctors make slightly more than high school teachers. Obamacare, if passed, will decrease this income further still.
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#2 sammyk

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:34 PM

Yet somehow, with all that, they find a way to drive over to the golf course for the day in their S-Class Benz.
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#3 Daniel

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 08:43 AM

It's one of those things that doesn't tell the whole story. After medical school, the vast majority of doctors make very little money, especially when compared to the number of hours they work. In some cases, it amounts to something like $10 an hour. This generally continues for three to five years until you can start making real money. The more advanced, hence more lucrative, practices take years of training for little money. This probably skews the numbers a lot.

Case in point, my friend is in a plastic surgery fellowship. He graduated from medical school about 8 years ago. Since that time, he absolutely has made less than a public school teacher, while working double and possibly triple the hours that a public school teacher works in a typical year. A few years from now though, he's going to be absolutely loaded.

So far as Obamacare, who knows what the effect will be. People ought to recognize it for what it is though, a tax on people who don't buy healthcare, usually poor and hence regressive. One of the more humorous aspects of Obama's presidency is his saying it isn't a tax in press conferences, but telling the Supreme Court that it is a tax.

ADDENDUM: To SammyK's point about seeing a lot of doctors in nice cars, it presents an interesting case study in the wealth gap. There was a time when doctors, and other professionals, such as lawyers, did not live so extravagantly. In fact, that is still the case for most doctors and lawyers. However, as medicine and law becomes more specialized, and as their markets expand, the small percentage of very good lawyers and doctors can become fabulously wealthy.

Edited by Daniel, 31 May 2012 - 10:39 AM.

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#4 DevsMan84

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 01:11 PM

I had to leave my old doctor of a decade a couple years ago because he started charging $500 years just to keep him as my primary physician. Even if I never saw him the whole year I was required to pay that just so if I do need to see him I can.

Only doctors and lawyers are the only ones I know who do this and believe me I am playing the smallest violin while reading that article.
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#5 Daniel

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 01:55 PM

I had to leave my old doctor of a decade a couple years ago because he started charging $500 years just to keep him as my primary physician. Even if I never saw him the whole year I was required to pay that just so if I do need to see him I can.

Only doctors and lawyers are the only ones I know who do this and believe me I am playing the smallest violin while reading that article.


What a country. Your doctor was charging you too much, and hence you stopped using his services. He was also probably charging you that much, in part, because of how much he has to spend to make sure he can get paid by your insurer or Uncle Sam, depending on who's picking up the bill. Depending on his specialty, he might be paying close to $100k a year in malpractice insurance, not to mention staff he has to pay for, rent for office space, cost of supplies, etc. These administrative charges are a product of any system where a third-party is paying for you to obtain a very expensive product and our jackpot justice system.

Public school teachers do not incur any of these types of expenses. And often, they have union contracts that make it virtually impossible for them to get fired (unlike, say, someone who can choose to see another physician), that make them completely immune personally from lawsuits except for the most egregious conduct, guaranteed pensions, and give them monopoly control over the education system in a particular geographic area.
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#6 Pepperkorn

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 02:12 PM

oh bullsh!t Daniel.

This guy massages the data to make the statement he wanted to make.

I can massage a teacher's salary data to incrementally decline with every sh!tass situation people get themselves into. There are too many teachers so I had to work as a barista in Starbucks for 5 year before a teaching position opened up -- equals I had a TEN YEAR residency... whaawhaawhaa.....

Physicians make an upper middle class living UNLESS the choose not to. Those who choose not to are in it for humanitarian reasons and are either 1) independently wealthy as it is or 2) from underprivileged backgrounds and want to make a difference in their community. Probably a very few are just morons who are part of a glutted education system. and lets talk about tuition assistance, fellowships etc and so forth. It's not at all hard to NOT pay ridiculous med school bills. MBAs cost plenty too and people who get them do even less with them than the MD.

I've had this argument before as you've read. Cry me a river - seriously. anyone can fail if they try hard enough.

Edited by Pepperkorn, 01 June 2012 - 02:13 PM.

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#7 DevsMan84

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 02:49 PM

What a country. Your doctor was charging you too much, and hence you stopped using his services. He was also probably charging you that much, in part, because of how much he has to spend to make sure he can get paid by your insurer or Uncle Sam, depending on who's picking up the bill. Depending on his specialty, he might be paying close to $100k a year in malpractice insurance, not to mention staff he has to pay for, rent for office space, cost of supplies, etc. These administrative charges are a product of any system where a third-party is paying for you to obtain a very expensive product and our jackpot justice system.

Public school teachers do not incur any of these types of expenses. And often, they have union contracts that make it virtually impossible for them to get fired (unlike, say, someone who can choose to see another physician), that make them completely immune personally from lawsuits except for the most egregious conduct, guaranteed pensions, and give them monopoly control over the education system in a particular geographic area.


Possibly, but doubt it. I remember the letter I got making me aware of the charges stated the reason why he did that was because he joined some national medical association for top doctors and that part of the requirements was that he trim down his patient list to 500 as it is their belief that this is the most a great doctor can handle. So 500 x $500 is a quarter of a million dollars. Not exactly sure how much membership fees are yearly for these medical associations but that seems a bit high and he probably made a killing while dropping long-time patients like me (he was also my entire family's doctor until this fee came along so he has been our family doctor for about 20 years).

I know they have to pay for insurance, people to staff the office (medical billing coders, receptionists, nurses, etc) and of course their probably student loans, but usually by the time these doctors open their private practice they are not exactly in poverty. This goes the same for lawyers and therpists.

I still have yet to come across a doctor who is living paycheck to paycheck that is above the age of 30.
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#8 Daniel

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 03:24 PM

I still have yet to come across a doctor who is living paycheck to paycheck that is above the age of 30.


I actually know plenty of them. They're called residents. If you added up the number of hours they work, they make close to minimum wage. That situation doesn't last forever for most, but many doctors are in a precarious situation financially for several years after graduating medical school.

Yes, most doctors eventually do well financially. But, so does a tenured public school teacher in your typical blue state, especially when you consider job security, defined pension, zero business risk. (Gratuitous swipe at the teacher making $80k per year pre-benefits who claimed that she could make more money as a baby sitter).
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#9 insanity_gallops

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 07:48 PM

Can't lump all teachers into that category, Daniel. Typically for a public school teacher to make $80K+, he/she has been teaching 15-20 years and has at least a Masters degree, if not Masters + 30 grad credits or +45 grad credits. It's not like teachers roll out of college and immediately start earning well.

Besides, public educator salaries are in roughest shape for the youngest teachers (I'm not that young, but I'm nowhere near the level you're describing for teacher salaries) since many districts are working with salary freezes (mine), no contracts (mine), and against legislation requiring additional contributions to health plans and pension plans. All in all, my salary technically is the same as last year, except after all additional contributions it's essentially a $3K paycut. A more veteran teacher in my district calculated that as her contributions rise, she will have to work 17 more years (she's been teaching 10+ already) just to make the same amount of after-tax/contributions salary that she made one year ago.

Lots of teachers need second or third jobs to pay bills, support family members, meet mortgage requirements, and so on. Much as I know doctors don't always have it easy, I don't know of any doctors that also find themselves working nights/weekends at a diner, bookstore, department store, etc.
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