More headlines in the news blaring that yet another doctor is bilking insurers out of millions of dollars. This fraudulence disgusts me, but let’s all be clear… a doctors’ income is not the big cost in our healthcare delivery system.
Those who oversee the business of medicine, not the hands-on caregivers are the ones who earn the big bucks. The average base pay of an insurance company executive is $584,000 a year, for a hospital CEO $386,000, compared to a family doctor who earns $156,000. As an industry, healthcare is staffed by some of the lowest paid professionals. The average staff nurse earns $61,000 a year; an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) earns $27,000 a year (about minimum wage) if they have a families they work three jobs to make ends meet.
The U.S. spends almost 20% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health care, which is more than any other country in the world by sevenfold, and yet we are not the healthiest country in the world (not even in the top 20). The administrative costs in healthcare make up to 30% of the US healthcare bill, which is twice as much as any other developed country.
We will lower the cost of healthcare in this country if we reduce the administrative costs. The current reimbursement system is so complex it requires specialists in everything other than hands-on care. The jobs in healthcare now feature specialists in coding, claims adjusting, medical device brokers, drug purchasers, and navigators.
Put healthcare back into the hands of those who actually care for patients, and want to do well by them. If we can’t get a single-payor system, let’s at least elect legislators who are not bought by industry lobbyists (pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other suppliers), to pass laws requiring insurers to spend 95% of insurance premiums for actual medical care.
Most doctors want to do well by their patients, they still come to their work as if it’s a ministry, not an industry.