Why primary care physicians need a minimum wage

Why primary care physicians need a minimum wage
Doctors are endlessly accused of being overpaid, but when you break down the math, primary-care physicians get the crap end of the stick. Is it time to give them a minimum wage?

While we entertain the idea of increasing the minimum wage, let’s not forget doctors who also need a pay bump. Yes, doctors—primary care physicians (PCPs) who are receiving only a tiny fraction of all that money you’re now forced to fork over for health insurance.

To wit, the health insurance calculator for Southern California says a 62-year-old would pay $7,200 a year for the top plan. Most people resent paying this big a fee for something like insurance—and it’s easy to see why patients can be manipulated into thinking their doctor is being overpaid.

However, the math is simple. The average PCP has 2,500 patients and supposedly makes $180,000 a year. Therefore, the insurer is paying your primary care doctor $72 a year per patient—out of the $7,200 a year paid to the insurer. That’s 1% of the insurance premium. It works out to $6 a month (19.7 cents a day!) to have a highly trained professional overseeing your care.

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