America's Medical Mess: Economic Solution
The medical crisis in America in all its manifestations is all due to one underlying problem: There are not enough doctors. And no solution is going to be adequate until this problem is fixed.
The low number of doctors limits supply of medical care. This causes three problems at once. First, according to simple mathematics and economics, low supply amid growing demand means exhorbitantly high prices. Secondly, low number of doctors means that thedoctors are overworked, and overworked people make mistakes that they would not makeunder normal conditions. This results in disastrous errors that kill or cripple the patient. Thirdly, because of these mistakes, there is huge amount of malpractice lawsuits; which mean high insurance prices for doctors, which either have to be absorbed by doctors themselves, or passed down to the patient.
All these problems - high prices, medical errors, and huge malpractice insurance costs - have been the bane of American medicine in recent decades.
And only by addressing the problem at the root, can any meaningful or lasting solution be affectuated.
How can this then be solved? How can America increase its number of medical professionals? There are two possible directions to take, and I believe both are rightful. One, is to tap into supply of medical professionals abroad or from abroad. The other, is to increase the number of domestic doctors.
The first is already taking place, as people are going to Canada, India or Russia for operations. And they are right to do so. In countries where there are adequate doctors who do not earn enough money at home, Americans going for operations or treatment gives these doctors a better way to make a living and rewards their skill, their education and their work, while also giving the patient adequate treatment for less cost and less wait. But unless America is to see its domestic medical system whittle away, there needs to be a greater number of doctors at home, which means either: a greater number of licensed foreign doctors; a greater number of American doctors; or both.
The first of this means an intelligent licensing system for foreign doctors that assures their quality without being needlessly lengthy or bureaucratic. The second means this: Increase the number of medical schools. The more medical schools, the greater the number of medical school admissions and graduations, the more domestic doctors. Furthermore, with greater number of medical schools, there will be adequate competition among them, leading to reduced tuition costs. This will open the door for many promising students, many of whom either cannot afford medical school financially or cannot get in because of needlessly small number of admissions to medical school.
And while socialist solutions can alleviate the strain for the patients, it is only by addressing the structural problem that the situation can be resolved in a meaningful and lasting way. The solution, is to increase the number of doctors. The extent to which it is done by Americans going to foreign doctors, by America bringing in foreign doctors, or by increasing the number of medical school admissions and graduations, will determine the extent to which other countries get the business, the extent to which foreigners living in America get the business, or the extent to which Americans get the business of American people in need of medical care.