Doctor shortages

One of the objections to single payer healthcare (socialized medicine, government medicine, take your pick) is the shortage of doctors and how much we have to pay them because of that shortage. And, of course, “how are we going to pick up the slack of all those people wanting to see the doctor?”

I guess the big thing the people using this are implying is, “Sure, we could increase the numbers.  But the quality would drop.”

OK, let’s bring just a hint of fact to this.  The doctor shortage is artificially imposed.  Not by a qualitative standard but by a quantitative one.  The number of MD candidates accepted by the schools that can graduate these hasn’t changed in over 20 years.  And the graduation rates have also remained remarkably constant, at 16,000 +/- 500 MDs granted every year.  For over 20 years.  By the way, the number of applications has increased steadily — there were almost twice as many applicants in 2004 as there were in 1987.

I do not believe we could double the number of doctors we produce in a handful of years — expanding programs is difficult.  But NO expansion?  Bah.

The shortage is artificial.  And we can fix it inside our nation, or we can continue to bring in doctors trained in other nations — which also rather undercuts the argument that “ours are better.”  No, ours cost more to train, and the students willingly pay that because the shortage keeps the return high enough to pay off that cost.  Or so it looks from an analysis of production numbers and malpractice statistics.


One thought on “Doctor shortages

  1. I think another reason for the doctor shortage can be attributed to the excruciatinly high prices they must pay insurance companies, get paid by our own insurance companies. In other words the bad guy here imho is the mney grubbing insurance companies.

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