Cost of Health Care (con’t)

2 g) Cost of Health Care (con’t)

  • Cost of Physicians: In our community, as in most Doctors are among the wealthiest. As Americans we place a very high value on person that looks after our physical well-being. It’s too bad that we do not place the same value on maintaining that well-being. No price is too high. Combine that attitude the assumption that we are receiving a high level of quality care and you begin to see the problem. Add one more factor, and that is in my opinion, that many physicians attempt to maximize their earnings to support the life style that they enjoy. What this leads to is that we have the highest physician cost among all reporting countries:


Source of below: by   Aaron Carroll

·         Physician fees and salaries in the US and other countries

There’s a new manuscript in Health Affairs on the higher fees paid to US physicians compared to other countries. Let’s work through the abstract:

Higher health care prices in the United States are a key reason that the nation’s health spending is so much higher than that of other countries.

Can’t argue with that!

Our study compared physicians’ fees paid by public and private payers for primary care office visits and hip replacements in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We also compared physicians’ incomes net of practice expenses, differences in financing the cost of medical education, and the relative contribution of payments per physician and of physician supply in the countries’ national spending on physician services.

Fees are the amount paid to the doctor’s office for a visit or to surgeons for their services. This is different from salaries, of course, as overhead and infrastructure should be bundled in fees.

Public and private payers paid somewhat higher fees to US primary care physicians for office visits (27 percent more for public, 70 percent more for private) and much higher fees to orthopedic physicians for hip replacements (70 percent more for public, 120 percent more for private) than public and private payers paid these physicians’ counterparts in other countries. US primary care and orthopedic physicians also earned higher incomes ($186,582 and $442,450, respectively) than their foreign counterparts. We conclude that the higher fees, rather than factors such as higher practice costs, volume of services, or tuition expenses, were the main drivers of higher US spending, particularly in orthopedics.

So, not surprisingly, things cost more in the US.  Way more! This is when I say that this would be OK (potentially) if the outcomes or quality were so much better in the US. They are not. It would also be explained if the US was doing more per visit, doing more services, or if costs were higher. They are not. It’s just the fees. This has been shown before.

I think most news, however, will focus on the salaries of physicians in the US. They’re higher than in other countries.

Stay tuned, more to follow on this topic