Kevin Pho from the Kevin MD blog is one of the leading voices in new media medicine. He's also a friend of the blog and of the show. (Check out Kevin's appearances on Dr A Show 20 and Dr A Show 32). On a more regular basis now, Kevin writes op-ed pieces for newspapers.
His latest op-ed piece is in today's USA Today website and is entitled, "Doctors' pay cuts save little in health costs."
"Why should I care if doctors get a pay cut?" my patient recently asked me. Therein lies the delicate dilemma physicians face today. While the common perception is that the medical profession is well-compensated, there are serious implications in targeting physician pay to control medical spending.The piece goes on to explain why targeting physician payment costs are a fallacy in trying to decrease health care spending in the United States. And, of course, going after the physician is a popular notion when you have entities like popular culture, the malpractice attorneys, the insurance companies, and anyone else going after physicians. But, here is the key statistic.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there are more significant drivers of health costs, including new prescription drugs, technology and administrative needs. Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt estimates that physicians' take-home pay represents roughly 10% of national health care spending. Cutting physician pay by 20% would only reduce spending by 2%.Great job Kevin with this op-ed. I'm not gifted enough nor do I have the talent or the patience to write strong opinion pieces like this one on policy and financial issues like this one. I know that I will be referencing this piece when talking to some of my patients today. Thanks Kevin for being one of the voices out there for us bloggers out here!