Why doctors run late

By David U. Himmelstein, M.D.
The New York Times, Letters, July 13, 2014

The best way to shorten waits to see a doctor (editorial, July 8) is to reduce physicians’ crushing paperwork burden. The average American doctor spends almost nine hours each week on billing and bureaucratic tasks, twice the time spent by physicians in Canada.

The difference stems from the complex, business-oriented payment system in the United States, and Canada’s simple, single-payer system.

David U. Himmelstein, an internist, is a professor at the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College.