an interesting study, but hardly surprising. I get almost daily emails to go work in the US at substantially more than I make here. I do make a good living in Canada. I also have family ties and I like living in Canada. It is a Constitutional Monarchy! Allowing some private care may entice some of the doctors leaving for the US to stay in Canada.
Despite recent fee hikes, Canadian doctors still lag dramatically far behind their American counterparts in income, according to a new study that underscores the wide pay gap in both countries between front-line "primary-care" physicians and much-wealthier surgical specialists.
Orthopedic surgeons in Canada make less than half the $440,000 average net income of colleagues in the States while doing more procedures, two U.S. health-policy professors concluded in one of the most detailed looks yet at the differences in doctor compensation between nations.
The U.K. also pays its surgeons more than Canada, while both it and Germany better compensate primarycare doctors, like family physicians and pediatricians, the comparison of six industrialized countries suggests.
Canada should not ignore the wage gap, as a sudden shortage of certain specialists in the States could trigger a drain from here, said Dr. John Haggie, president of the Canadian Medical Association. Canada saw a net loss of doctors to the U.S. in the 1990s, as provinces instituted doctor pay caps and tried to rein-in fee increases as a way to corral health costs.
But Dr. Haggie voiced no particular envy Tuesday at the statistics just published in the journal Health Affairs, saying that factors other than money influence where doctors settle, including for some the appeal of Canada's universal, government-funded health system.
"A good salary package is an attractor, it's a magnet but it doesn't always have the same effect at the other end when you're trying to retain people," said Dr. Haggie. "The system in which [physicians] work is part of the attraction of working here."
That migration to the U.S. has reversed in the last few years, with a small net influx of MDs from south of the border as incomes rose here, according to statistics and the accounts of medical recruitment agencies.