An article in Slate raises an interesting question: are doctors overpaid? Unquestionably, the article points out, doctors in the United States make a lot of money relative to doctors in other countries. American doctors make four times what French doctors earn. Four times! Comparatively, the gap between what doctors make and the rest of us make is larger in the United States than in other countries.
The numbers are eye-popping. In the 1990s, the ratio of the doctor’s income compared to the American employee’s income was about 5.5. In France, it is 1.9. In Great Britain, it is only 1.4. As I wrote last week in my response to Dr. George Hossfeld’s email, the top five highest-paying jobs in the United States are all doctors.
Is it a travesty that one profession makes 5.5 times what the rest of us make? I don’t think so. I think doctors should make a lot of money because in the big circle of life; it is more important that doctors do their job well than at least 99% of the rest of us, and we need to recruit the best and the brightest. So I’m cool with doctors making a lot of money. What I have a harder time digesting, however, is the suggestion that doctors are not making enough money, so we should turn our civil justice system – that has been in the works for hundreds of years – on its head so doctors can make more money.