The Doctor Can’t See You Now
America desperately needs a supply-side revolution to unclog its health-care system’s arteries and make up for an increasingly urgent shortage of doctors. As matters stand, new medical schools, qualified doctors, and well-tested medicines all face unnecessary roadblocks.
SAN DIEGO – Between 1980 and 2000, America’s National Basketball Association added six teams, while the National Football League and Major League Baseball added four each. How many medical schools did the United States add? None. In many cities, it may now be easier to find a fleet-footed quarterback than a pediatrician.
For years, the American Medical Association stanched the flow of new students, claiming in 1997 that “the US is on the verge of a serious oversupply of physicians.” We are now seeing the results: overstretched Minneapolis nurses are marching on picket lines demanding 30% wage hikes; and rural hospitals and health-care providers around the country are chronically short of doctors.
The situation calls for a supply-side revolution to unclog the health-care system’s arteries. We’ve already seen what a supply-side surge can do in other sectors. In hospitality, the arrival of Airbnb effectively added 25% more hotel rooms nationwide, making it tougher for hotels to boost prices.