“I’m a Medicare Doc- Here’s What I Make”
Every year, physicans across the United States tremble at the thought of having their medicare/medicaid reimbursements slashed. However for the first time, the guillotine began to fall on March 1st. This deadline came and went without reversing these cuts (there has now been another temporary extension till the end of the month from what I undersand). If we have come this close to getting the axe, it is only a matter of time before these devastating cuts go through for good. Check out this must read article from today’s CNNMoney and you will easily see how damaging this situation will be. Because fixed costs (office rent, payroll, malpractice insurance, medical supplies, etc.) do not decrease in tandem with medicare reimbursement, a 21% drop in Medicare pay means the physician will be losing A LOT MORE. For example, say a practice nets 500K a year but pays out 350K for overhead costs. That leaves 150K net pay. But with a 21% drop in reimbursement from Medicare (and I am making the valid assumption that private HMO’s will similarly follow these cuts), the gross revenue from your practice is now down to 400K leaving you with a whopping 50K a year in pay! Good luck paying back your 250K student loan debt on that while working like a racehorse 60 hrs a week not being able to take a vacation! As you can clearly see, one must magnify every percentage drop in reimbursement many times over to see the damaging end result.
My advice to any high school student that happens to come across this blog is to THINK TWICE BEFORE GOING DOWN THE LONG ROAD TO BECOMING A PHYSICIAN! Unless your conviction is as strong as that of Mother Theresa’s and you are willing to take on a vow of poverty, you really should consider doing anything else that you may have the slightest thread of interest in. If you love art, become an artist. If you enjoy children, teach kindergarten. If you like cars, become a mechanic. Besides, you will probably wind up making the same or even more in these careers down the road without any of the debt. Medicine has gotten worse for sure but I am outright frightened to see what the landscape will be like in another 10 years. You see the arrow at the top of this posting? That is exactly where we continue to be heading with NO RELIEF in sight. Ask yourself this. Will tuitions ever decrease? Will medicare and HMO’s ever increase their reimbursements? Does the US govt get anything done nowadays to better the lives of their citizens aside from endless quarreling? No, no, and no….point made, case closed.