Is There a Better Way to Pay Doctors?

Physicians' bills are inflating medical costs and distorting the profession. One hospital is trying to fix the system

Bill Cramer / Wonderful Machine for TIME

A doctor dictates notes into the digital archive.

Correction Appended: Oct. 19, 2009

It's hard to feel sorry for America's family doctors. Any job that averages $179,000 per year and lets you be your own boss is a job most folks wouldn't turn down. With the effort to rein in health-care costs increasingly framed as an unhappy trade-off in which insurers either slash benefits or raise premiums, some in Washington are beginning to ask a question long considered off-limits: Do we simply pay doctors too much?

The truth is, we pay them all wrong.

Doctors themselves could tell you that — particularly primary-care providers (PCPs), the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!