Saturday, October 6, 2012

Notable and Quotable: Specializing in Prosperity
The life so short, the art so long, the craft to long to learn, opportunity fleeing , experience treacherous, judgment difficult,
Hippocrates, Aphorisms
October 6, 2012 The following short piece, from the October 6 Wall Street Journal,  is likely to draw this comment“So what? Everybody knows that.” 

And so they do, which is why so few medical students enter primary care residencies.  But it is worth noting that Medicare is already slashing specialists’ incomes, and Obamacare proposes to cut 40% of specialty pay over the next decade while increasing primary-care pay by 10% or more.

That said, here's the WSJ squibb"

“In the U.S. the lifetime premium that medical specialists earn over general practitioners can run into the millions of dollars, a study shows.”
"Researchers looked at the income of more than 6,000 physicians in 2004-2005 data. Over the course of careers, primary-care doctors were projected to make roughly $3 million, but oncologists might earn more than $7 million.  The researchers found that over their careers, primary-care physicians were outmanned by surgeons ($1.6 million), doctors in internal medicine and pediatric subspecialties ($1.1 million), and other specialists ($761,000)."
"This may help explain why 67% of American physicians are specialist, compared to 39% to 50% in some other affluent countries.  Yet primary care physicians provide more effective care, the researchers write, and the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of more than 65,000 by 2012,"
"The researchers urged narrowing the pay gap to encourage more young doctors to go into primary care. 'Lifetime Earnings for Physicians across Specialties,' J. Paul December issue of Medical Care.

Tweet: Historically,  specialists earn more than primary care doctors, but that may be about to change as Medicare and Obamacare slash specialty pay.

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