AMA: Physicians generate $1.6 trillion in economic activity, support 10 million jobs

April 16, 2014

A new report released today by the American Medical Association (AMA) shows that physicians have a huge influence on national and state economies beyond their role of safeguarding a healthy community and productive workforce. Patient care physicians enable economic growth, opportunity and prosperity by contributing $1.6 trillion in economic activity and supporting 10 million jobs nationwide in 2012.

“Physicians carry tremendous responsibility as skilled healers, trusted confidants and patient advocates, but their positive impact isn't confined to the exam room,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D. “The new AMA study illustrates that physicians are strong economic drivers that are woven into their local communities by the jobs, commerce and taxes they generate. These quality jobs not only support the caring role of physicians, but also generate taxes that support schools, housing, transportation and other public services in local communities.”

The report notes that given the changing health care environment, it is paramount to quantify the economic impact physicians have on society. To provide lawmakers, regulators and policymakers with reliable information, the report measured the economic impact of physicians at the national level and in each of the 50 states and District of Columbia according to key economic barometers:

  • Output: Each physician supported an average of $2.2 million in economic output and contributed to a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output nationwide.
  • Jobs: Each physician supported an average of 13.84 jobs and contributed to a total of 10 million jobs nationwide.
  • Wages and Benefits: Each physician supported an average of $1.1 million in total wages and benefits and contributed to a total of $775.5 billion in wages and benefits nationwide.
  • Tax Revenues: Each physician supported $90,449 in local and state tax revenues and contributed to a total of $65.2 billion is local and state tax revenues nationwide.

According to the federal government, spending on physician services grew more slowly between 2009 and 2012 than at any time in the last 15 years and accounts for only 16 percent of all health care dollars spent in the U.S. in 2012. Yet expenditures for physician services have a ripple effect through the economy. Every dollar applied to physician services supports an additional $1.62 in other business activity.

The study found that physicians had a greater national economic impact than each of the following industries: higher education, home health care, legal services, nursing and residential care.

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