Based on a compilation of data from the AMA, CMS, and Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), Jackson Healthcare—a healthcare staffing and technology company—has found that physician compensation accounts for only about 8% of total annual healthcare costs in the United States.

In 2009, overall U.S. healthcare spending was $2.5 trillion, according to the latest estimates from CMS. Of that total, $505 billion accounts for physician and clinical services. Physician compensation accounted for 37% of total collections ($186 billion; 7.5% of total U.S. healthcare spending), according to MGMA.

When Jackson Healthcare used the AMA’s most recent statistics on the number of physicians practicing in the United States along with 2009 salary figures from a 2010 MGMA report, it determined that the annual aggregate physician salaries total $216 billion, representing 8.6% of total U.S. healthcare costs.

”At 8% of total healthcare costs, if physicians worked for free, we would still have a serious cost problem,” said Richard Jackson, chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare. ”What this figure shows is that physician pay is not the primary contributor to healthcare costs.”

Physician’s Weekly wants to know…

  • In your opinion, what can be done to help spread the word to the public, and would doing so help alleviate negative perceptions about physicians in regard to salaries and reimbursement?
  • What do you feel are the primary contributors to healthcare costs?
  • What can be done to eliminate or reduce these costs, if anything?