Here is another article that quotes a starting salary of $150,000 for doctors right out of their residencies–there are areas of the country where young doctors can get employment at this salary level. But note these doctors are saddled with $100,000 to over $200,000 in medical school loans. With this financial burden, young doctors rarely even think of “hanging a shingle,” that is, opening their own practice, as was customary decades ago. It is understandable why going into primary care is the choice of less than 5% of doctors completing their 3 year residencies.
I doubt the doctor in this article, who loses $9.00 everytime he gives a pneumonia shot to an elderly patient, makes $150,000 a year. The day of solo practitioners is quickly fading away even in rural areas. Right now in Texas half the primary care physicians practice solo or with one other doctor, but these practices are disappearing rapidly. There is no year-end six figure bonus for the 64 year old family doctor who gets up in the middle of the night to take care of his patient’s heart attack.
Daschle is now out of the picture, but I shudder to think who will be the Messiah’s next pick to “overhaul” our healthcare system. When I hear medical economists who advise Obama making statements that nurses can perform most of what a primary care doctor does, I know the family doctors’ concerns are not going to be a priority in an Obama administration.