Why are Doctors Paid so Much?

by Rice on October 4, 2017 - 11:47pm


People who have more education tend to earn a greater amount of money than those who don’t. It should come as no surprise then that Doctors, who are required to study far longer than most professions, make more money than most other professions too. They are often held in high esteem too, due to the required effort and high grades that are needed to succeed. Keeping this in mind, why are doctors paid so much in Quebec? From all my research I can clearly distinguish 3 reasons why: Training, high country income and competition


First of all, we justify the high salaries of doctors to the fact they are “highly trained” and thus deserving of an income that reflects this. To better understand how high a doctor's income is, we have to set a relative baseline to use in comparison with other people’s wages.  Let’s look at the the average time people spend in post highschool education. For example, in Quebec in 2015 people spent an average of 3 years in post highschool education. We also know that a doctor spends an average of 12 years in post-secondary education in Quebec. We will assume that someone’s average salary is proportional to the number of years spent in post-high school education. Consequently, doctors should be making 4 times more than the average citizen. In reality the median Quebecois makes a measly $33,000 compared to the median of $225,000 for a Doctor. This equates to 7 times more! (or $93,000 more than they should be relatively making!). However interesting, when compared to the United states this disparity increases dramatically. The median American makes a little under $35,300 compared to the median Doctor who makes $350,000. This equates to 10 times more than the average citizen! (or $210,000 more than they should be making!).  


From this we start seeing a clearer picture, one of injustice. How can this be at all fair? To sum up, Doctors are paid more than most people since they need more training to do their job, but how much is too much?


Second of all, salaries vary with the wealth of one’s country, The greater the wealth the higher the salaries, Doctors included. Extrapolating from the gross income of Canada we can assume that Quebec’s gross annual income sits close to 180 Billion$.  From this we can scale Quebec’s population to that of of the US and we get something around 7.81 trillion$. When comparing the normalized Incomes, we notice that the total wealth in the USA is significantly greater than that of Quebec's. Actually 25% greater! In fact the average American makes $45 000, while the average Quebecois makes 38 000$. Meaning the average Quebecois tends to make 20% less than their counterparts in the US. In other words, American doctors should be making on average 25% more than those in Quebec. But by extrapolation, Doctors in Quebec make 55% less than those in the US! To sum up, a doctor’s pay should tend to be proportional to the wealth in that country.However this is not the case.


Finally, like every thing in modern society, salaries depend on supply and demand. This is where our current way of operating our health care system becomes a blessing or a problem. Doctors need to be highly trained, ergo very few people can access this rank. But everyone needs to go see a doctor. Meaning Doctors are in high demand but low on supply and thus very expensive. But this doesn’t explain why there is this big gap between doctors pay in other countries. Although this might!. When going to the Hospital in Quebec, yes you want the best doctor to take care of you, but it isn’t up to you to decide which one it is. Doctors are assigned to a “random” patient, and patients are assigned to a “random” doctor. This means you are not going to a Hospital for the doctor but rather for the service. This dramatically increases the cost of the service but not the salary of a Doctor in Quebec. However in the US, Hospitals and clinics are instead looking for the “best” doctors out there, since patients are in fact looking for the best doctor, thinking they will get the best service out of him. This could explain the huge gap difference in income between US doctors and Quebec doctors. However would this justify why doctors are paid so much. No!


In conclusion, Doctors in Quebec are paid significantly more than the average person for three reasons.Training, our country's GDP and competition. I strongly believe that they are paid too much when comparing them to the average Joe. However, when comparing them to US Doctors it seems that we are behind, and not paying them enough for their services. Can we justify why doctors in Quebec are paid less than their counterparts. Yes. 55% less? no! This is where my initial purpose for this article starts to become hazy. Doctors are paid too much! But if we don’t want to lose all of our good doctors, we have to do something soon, to compete with the USA and other provinces in Canada. For these reasons, I think  we should increase the salaries of doctors in Quebec.



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