Thursday, March 04, 2010

I'm a Medicare doctor. Here's what I make

We have all heard about how healthcare reform legislation will affect patients, but few have spoken on the affect changes to the industry will have on doctors and nurses. CNN posted an interesting article examining how the proposed cut of Medicare payments will reduce the income of many doctors in this country. For those of which who are still paying off student loans, these reductions could lower their income to levels comparable of a minimum wage job.

When you think of low-paying jobs, doctor doesn't usually come to mind.

But with a 21% cut in Medicare payments slated to take effect later this month, physicians who say they are making an “OK” living may be reduced to income levels that no longer make their profession viable. That's especially true for those still paying medical school costs and other training.

"The cuts will hit me," said Dr. William Schreiber, a primary care physician based in North Syracuse, N.Y.

Schreiber sees 120 patients a week. About 30% of them are enrolled directly in Medicare, while another 65% have private insurance plans that peg their payments on Medicare's rates. Only 5% pay without the help of an insurance plan.

As a result, Schreiber expects the cuts to take away $3 out of every $5 he currently earns. And, as a primary care physician, he already wasn't earning anything near the salary of a specialist.

Continue reading at CNN…

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