There have been facts that states doctors don’t get paid much, as they use their brains as they do when they use their hands.
When the idea of paying doctors more money for their work is proposed, many people have the same gut reaction. Why should the rich get richer? Well, this is an instinctual reaction rooted in a false picture of today’s healthcare practitioner.
Most doctors find themselves unable to support a practice without joining a large group of other doctors or working for a hospital. Yet, the simple solution to this problem is to pay the doctors more.
Doctors should make gazillion dollars. Now let’s disclosure out of the way and explore five reasons why physician pay should not go lower.
- Physicians provide a valuable service
Most importantly, what doctors do is valuable. In all the whining about the high cost of health care, few people would argue we should just bag the whole thing altogether. The day to day work of a doctor is valuable. Worries are extinguished, lives are lengthened, and quality of life is improved.
Does medicine have lots of problems? Sure. Are there some bad doctors out there? Of course. But overall, physician services have a high economic value. Those who provide them deserve appropriate compensation for the value provided.
- A Difficult Job
If a job required hard work, long hours, odd hours, and/or a great deal of stress, it paid more. Medicine requires long hours, constant stress of not diagnosing or treating someone properly (leading to the patient getting sick or even dying), and the bureaucratic hassles imposed by government and other payors, but you’ve got a hard job that deserves to be paid well.
More importantly, it’s a hard job that requires compassion, difficult decision-making, leadership, intelligence, continuous learning, and decades of dedication. That deserves appropriate compensation.
- Patient’s expectations are unrealistic
There have been numerous comments from patients, eloquently explaining how their doctors and the medical system have failed them. People have gotten the message that they are entitled to be thin, energetic, and happy.
Patients spend an extraordinary amount of time, energy, and money searching for the smoking gun that will explain all of their problems. Then, they want the magic bullet that will fix it all. Most chronic problems like; weight gain, fatigue, depression, etc. will not have a single cause with a simple solution. These problems can only be adequately addressed by doing a deep dive into a diet, exercise, sleep, stress, relationships, and your own psyche.
But that is hard, “figure you out” first, so then you can feel better.
- The Lost Decade
It typically difficult for doctors to enjoy good health, they run on little sleep, can bounce back easily from a hard day, and are often free from burdensome family responsibilities. Many physicians come out of residency feeling as though they checked out of life for 5-15 years.
They’ve lost friends, missed opportunities, and often times suffered through the loss of important romantic relationships. They’ve missed weddings, funerals, reunions. If there is no financial compensation for this loss, the intelligent people you want to go into medicine won’t.
- Long, Costly Training
If it takes a few months of training to learn to do something, it should pay more than something you can pick up in 10 minutes on the job. But what if something takes more than a decade to learn? And requires you to take on levels of debt that many wouldn’t consider for a mortgage they plan to pay off over 30 years. Isn’t that worth something?
It’s gotten to the point where the typical graduate of many medical schools simply cannot afford to go into the lower-paying specialties. That’s just not right. Some argue that the problem is that other specialists are paid too much, stealing part of the income of a lower-paid specialist.
If our society demotes doctors from their status as professionals and business owners to that of unionized workers, our society is going to get what we deserve. The medical training pipeline is long enough that it will take a while to see the effects, but in the end, we’ll rue the day we decided quality health care wasn’t worth paying for.