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View Diary: Why healthcare costs so much in the U.S. (181 comments)

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  •  we're almost on the same page (1+ / 0-)
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    peggy

    There is no doubt that doctors make a lot of money and the knowledge that this is likely can influence career choices. There also tends to be more consistency in physician income than lawyer income (there are plenty of unemployed lawyers but few unemployed physicians- that also tends to skew the results). But it is also true that the upper end of lawyers' salaries is far higher than the upper end of physician income. My original assertion was based on a study that I've been unable to find the source for that compared lifetime earnings between MBA, MD, and JD. MBAs did best, JD second best, and MD worst on average due to the greater expense for medical school resulting in greater debt burden and especially delayed entry to the workforce (MBA 2yrs, JD 3 years, MD 4 years) plus the significantly lower incomes for MD during the post graduate training period that can last 3-7 or more years. Anyway, that's all just picking nits--all of those professions make a ton of money.

    Generally true that there is no particular incentive to cut costs, although this depends a bit on the practice model as some have economic incentives to decrease cost of care and may also be changing some as newer physicians are educated in a more cost conscious environment.

    You'd think that patients wouldn't have much say over spending, but unfortunately that isn't true. Patients often make demands about tests that are not medically indicated or request treatments that are inappropriate. The most widely reported is demands for antibiotics for viral infections, one of the driving causes of drug resistant bacteria, but there are plenty of other, more expensive, examples: CT and MRI for back pain or headaches, xrays for sprained ankles, various new, read expensive, (and highly marketed to consumers) medications when the older, generic medications work just fine. Patients frequently take a course at Google University and only seem to visit providers because they can't access what they think they need in any other way.

    •  thanks! (0+ / 0-)

      shoot.  I never replied.  Yes, this isn't an area I know a whole lot about and I appreciate your taking the time to educate me on it more.  Certainly, there are different ways to slice the data, but this notion of patients demanding treatment causing problems is of course an issue.  Why else would pharmaceutical companies spend so much on direct-to-patient advertising?

      -7.79, -7.75 http://www.politicalcompass.org/ Gosh!

      by Mindful Nature on Tue May 17, 2011 at 10:34:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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