Sunday, April 26, 2009

And now for the health care wars … compensation, round one

Them’s fighting words …

Doctor Shortage Proves Obstacle to Obama Goals -

… Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat and chairman of the Finance Committee, said Medicare payments were skewed against primary care doctors…

“Primary care physicians are grossly underpaid compared with many specialists,” said Mr. Baucus, who vowed to increase primary care payments as part of legislation to overhaul the health care system…

“Grossly underpaid” is rather strong, especially from the chairman of the Finance Committee.

There is an elephant in the room of physician compensation. The primary care physician supply can be increased by paying these physicians substantially more, but it can also be increased by paying specialists substantially less.

There are plenty of applications for medical school, and plenty of physicians entering practice. If we really want a different mix, we can do that fairly cheaply.

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