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What surgeons get paid, and what patients think surgeons get paid

Freakonomics Blog, June 7, 2012

Jared Foran, an orthopedic surgeon in Denver, is a co-author of a new study called "Patient Perception of Physician Reimbursement in Elective Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty." The authors surveyed 1,200 patients to see how much they thought orthopedic surgeons should make and what Medicare actually pays for a hip or knee replacement. "In short, patients—the most important part of all of health care policy decisions—have absolutely no clue how much doctors get paid. They think we get paid (or, at least, deserve to) about 10 times more than we actually do!" Foran tells us that similar studies have been done for spine surgery and sports medicine, with similar findings.