Baker responds to USA Today's article (2/26/08) blaming college enrollment caps for shortages of surgeons in hospitals:
USA Today had an article today on the looming doctor shortage. Apparently, no one at USA Today has heard about the global economy. If we eliminated barriers to qualified (they meet our standards) foreign doctors entering the country, and crafted trade deals to facilitate the training and migration of foreign doctors to the U.S. (instead of foreign manufactured goods), the United States would have as many qualified doctors as we want and would pay much less for their services than we do today.
However, the doctors' lobby is far more powerful than the lobby for auto workers and textile workers. Therefore, we continue to impose barriers to foreign doctors and the news media act like they don't even notice.
I will make a preemptive strike to protect this site from unnecessary ignorance. I know that there are many foreign doctors in the country. That proves absolutely zero, as in nothing, as in it is a completely meaningless piece of information. The United States imported vast amounts of apparel in the 80s, yet it had very extensive protection against imports of apparel. To say that we have protections does not mean that we have absolute prohibitions. If we did not have barriers to foreign doctors entering the country, U.S. born doctors would probably be about as common as U.S. made shoes.
RLCC: Ah yes, protectionism is evil unless it is protecting the wealthiest professionals in the country, the M.D.'s., who also, along with certain insurance carriers, want protections against malpractice damage awards no matter how egregious the malpractice.
I'm not advocating ripping all doctors for the inevitable mistakes all humans make. I'm simply pointing out the hypocrisy of the doctors. Why don't they just do their best to help as many people as possible regardless of pay and just see what a grateful society will do in response? Why don't they stop thinking about becoming multi-multi-millionaires and allow the poorest of the poor to be able to afford help by virtue of enough doctors to go around including in poor rural areas?
by Dean Baker (Beat the Press) from on February 26, 2008, 1:24pm