Lege Artis Medicinae

[Economic features of rewarding physicians – changing for fair incomes in Hungary ]

BALÁZS Péter1

NOVEMBER 30, 2020

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2020;30(11)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33616/lam.30.044

Review

[Since ages, rewarding physicians was a crucial problem. Among true professionals (priests, legal experts, physicians and teachers) only medical doctors are necessarily working in physical terms, which generates permanent uncertainty about their remuneration. Old Age manual services (surgery, obstetrics) were paid by artisans’ standards while patients of faith-healing (by priest-doctors) presented religious offers according to their capacities. Hippocrates’ business ethics transformed this pattern as price elasticity for profane providers. During the Medieval Ages, governments issued also for physicians fee schedules or in some countries like Hungary they agreed free on remuneration with their patients. Thus, Hungary’s physicians experienced 1891 the implementation of the Bismarck type social health insurance as a real shock-wave generated by the depressed fee proposals. After the first hit, during the following 100 years Hungary committed all possible financial failures down to the fall of Communism in 1989. After the age (1949–1989) of socialism in the health care, general practitioners returned to the self-employed business however under heavy custody of a single payer public fi­nan­cing. Specialist in out and in-patient care (if they used this opportunity) were “li­cenced” for earning money on the quasi pri­vate market of the under-the-table informal business. Actually, only the private dentistry preserved its legal free market share and by the cross-border “dental-tourism” Hungary joined also the competitive international dental market. All other specialists demonstrate income discontent by requiring higher wages, working abroad or fuelling debates on accepting informal payments of “thankful” patients. Contrasted to dentistry, there are actually no economic standards to ponder physicians’ income expectations and compare them with purchasing power of public and private financing. This study shows first the historic evidence of the relevant golden standard and its continuity un-der the present circumstances however supressed for political reasons. It would be able to settle debates about the public employees’ wages of doctors caught out of the thin air. ]

AFFILIATIONS

  1. Semmelweis Egyetem, Általános Orvostudományi Kar, Népegészségtani Intézet

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