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

ATLANTA (May 14, 2012)- Just when the debate over healthcare is about heat up again, a new survey finds physician compensation as a percentage of healthcare costs 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, amount of physician compensation was 9.7 percent of overall health spending.

“As we continue to debate how to reform health care, many often blame physicians’ salaries for driving up the cost of healthcare,” said 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.”

Source Data

With the exception of Sweden, data was obtained from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development and the Medical Group Management Association’s U.S. salary data. Sweden’s physician salary data was obtained from a Congressional Research Service report (page 23). All data is 2007, except Sweden, which is from 2004.