The Economic Impact of Physicians

April 16, 2014
Laura Joszt

Physicians have a much larger impact beyond simply providing care. In 2012, they contributed $1.6 trillion in economic activity and supported nearly 10 million jobs nationwide.

Physicians have a much larger impact on the nation beyond simply providing care. A new report from the American Medical Association (AMA), revealed how physicians are vital economic drivers at the state and national levels.

According to the report, in 2012 physicians contributed $1.6 trillion in economic activity and supported nearly 10 million jobs nationwide. To measure the economic impact physicians have on society, the report considered the following economic barometers: output; jobs; wages and benefits; and tax revenues.

"Physicians carry tremendous responsibility as skilled healers, trusted confidants and patient advocates, but their positive impact isn't confined to the exam room," AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, said in a statement.

Each physician in the US supported an average of $2.2 million in economic output and 13.84 jobs in 2012. Physicians contributed to $775.5 billion in wages and benefits across the nation, and a total of $65.2 billion in local and state tax revenues nationwide.

Every dollar applied to physician services supports an additional $1.62 in other business activity, the AMA reported. Furthermore, in 2012 physicians had a greater national economic impact than higher education, home healthcare, legal services, nursing, and residential care.

No state comes close to California when it comes to jobs supported by physicians. The state had a total of 983,990 physician-contributed jobs, which is nearly 10% of the nation’s total. New York was a very distant second place with 571,593 jobs supported by physicians, or slightly less than 6% of the nation’s overall.

"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,” Hoven said. “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."