What if the Doctor Market Was Like the Lawyer Market?
Andrew Oh-Willeke points us to this, on the job market for lawyers:
Slightly more than half of the class of 2011 — 55 percent — found full-time, long-term jobs that require bar passage nine months after they graduated, according to employment figures released on June 18 by the American Bar Association.
I couldn’t find a comparable figure for medical graduates on a quick search, but I’m guessing the number’s in the low single digits.
The lawyer glut has been going on for a while, and at least in Canada (the only place I’ve found data) it’s been having predictable effects on legal fees — down 40% in nine years ’01–’10:
I doubt that doctors’ fees are the prime driver behind our crisis of rising health-care costs (what providers charge). But at least one analysis says it’s an important part (Todd Hixon, Forbes):
U.S. spending annual on physicians per capita is about five times higher than peer countries: $1,600 versus $310 in a sample of peer countries, a difference of $1,290 per capita or $390 billion nationally, 37% of the health care spending gap. These conclusions come from an analysis co-authored by Miriam Laugesen of the Columbia University School of Public Health and Sherry Gleid, an Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (source)**.
This suggests that relieving the supply shortage – especially for primary care doctors — could have a big impact. Not a new insight, but I thought this data point would be of interest.
Cross-posted at Asymptosis.
I think you mean that the number of doctors not finding work is in the low single digits.
It’s difficult to increase the supply of primary care doctors because specialization is where the money is.
A market-based solution on Angry Bear? Welcome to the dark side, bro.
Which is one of the components of the ACA being enacted as we speak to change the reimbursement between the two groups to encourage primary care over specialties.
I updated over at Asymptosis based on comments by wh10, saying that maybe a better answer is to increase the supply of specialists, bringing their compensation down, and thereby making primary care a relatively more attractive career path. Uwe Reinhart is totally the guy on this topic IMO, I need to post about his stuff more.
I knew a TA who was teaching calculus to pre-med students. He told me he was expected to flunk a fairly large percentage of them. Not teach them better. Flunk more. The hurdle of calculus and organic chemistry and crazy hours for interns serves to reduce the number of otherwise fully capable doctors – specialists or not – to a level where scarcity raises wages. The AMA is the strongest union in America.
So the next time you see your doctor about ingrown toenails, have him or her integrate e to the i times pi power. After all, you’re paying for it.
Decades ago at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, where I was majoring in chemistry at the time, General Chemistry was a 5 credit hour class meant to be the first hurdle in both the nursing school and for the new 6 year bachelors/M.D. program. Once I quit paying attention to the professor who knew his subject but not how to communicate it in an orderly fashion I liked it and my grades improved.
One difference is that in Europe pharmacists are able to prescribe cold medicine and the like, the FDA suggested it here, but the physicians guild objected, just like they object to nurse practicioners. One could of course fix the specialist issue by starting to charge specialists for the residency training, but not for primary care.
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