I’m currently rereading The Social Transformation of American Medicine by Paul Starr. Amazon tells me there are only 19 copies left! Yikes!
Here is an interesting fact from that book:
The total investment necessary to enter medical practice in 1850, including direct expenses and opportunity costs probably ranged between $500 and $1,300, depending on the degree of schooling.
Starr does some calculations in order to come up with this estimate including looking into the average costs of a horse and buggy at the time ($200-300) and estimations of the opportunity costs of the schooling and apprenticeship.
Last year, CBS news estimated that it costs on average $1 million to become a doctor today.