In today’s Acton Commentary I explore how our hyper-regulated and increasingly statist healthcare system is chasing off good physicians.
A recent article in Forbes by Bruce Japsen provides some additional support for that argument:
Doctor and nurse vacancies are approaching nearly 20 percent at hospitals as these facilities prepare to be inundated by millions of patients who have the ability to pay for medical care thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
A survey by health care provider staffing firm AMN Healthcare shows the vacancy rate for physicians at hospitals near 18 percent in 2013 while the nurse vacancy rate is 17 percent. That vacancy rate is more than three times what it was just four years ago when vacancies for nurses were just 5.5 percent in 2009 while vacancies for doctors were 10.7 percent.
It’s not all doom and gloom. In an earlier Forbes piece, Scott Gottlieb, an internist and fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, argues that technological and organizational innovation will allow quality health care to be delivered using fewer physicians.
If allowed to proceed, these innovations may actually increase market freedom in one area. Physician organizations and medical schools often have replicated a pernicious feature of the traditional guild, namely, finding ways to limit the number of new physicians not purely as a quality control measure but, beyond this, as a way to ensure that existing physicians are in high demand. (more…)