U.S Physician Compensation Among Lowest of Western Nations, Survey Finds

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Just when the healthcare debate is about heat up again, a new survey finds physician compensation in the United States among the lowest of the major Western nations. The amount compensated to physicians accounted for 8.6 percent of total healthcare costs in the United States last year. That was about $216 billion of the $2.5 trillion spent on healthcare.

However, that was among the second-lowest of Western nations with modern healthcare systems. Only Sweden spent less on overall healthcare costs dedicated to physician compensation, with 8.5 percent allotted to the costs of paying doctors.

On the high end, Germany’s healthcare system allotted 15 percent of its healthcare costs to paying physicians. In Australia, 11.6 percent of healthcare costs went to compensating doctors.

In France, it was 11 percent of overall healthcare costs. In the United Kingdom, the amount of physician compensation was 9.7 percent of overall health spending.

The results from the eight countries examined are:

Australia

Total Salaries: $8 billion, Healthcare Expenditures: $69 billion, Percentage: 11.6%

Canada

Total Salaries: $11 billion, Healthcare Expenditures: $127 billion, Percentage: 8.7%

France

Total Salaries: $25 billion, Healthcare Expenditures: $227 billion, Percentage: 11.0%

Germany

Total Salaries: $46 billion, Healthcare Expenditures: $306 billion, Percentage: 15.0%

New Zealand

Total Salaries: $808 million, Healthcare Expenditures: $11 billion, Percentage: 7.35%

Sweden

Total Salaries: $2.3 billion, Healthcare Expenditures: $27 billion, Percentage: 8.5%

United Kingdom

Total Salaries: $17.8 billion, Healthcare Expenditures: $183 billion, Percentage: 9.7%

United States

Total Salaries: $216 billion, Healthcare Expenditures: $2.5 trillion, Percentage: 8.6%

“As we continue to debate how to reform healthcare, many often blame physicians’ salaries for driving up the cost of healthcare," says Richard L. Jackson, chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare. “What this illustrates is that the compensation for American doctors is not what is driving up healthcare costs in our country."

The data was provided by the Overseas Employment Development Board and a 2011 Physician Compensation Survey by Jackson Healthcare, a healthcare staffing and technology company.

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