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Martin Odber

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Can the shortage of doctors be solved using an adaptation of the third law of supply and demand?

The third law of supply and demand states "If demand remains unchanged and supply increases, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price."
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand )

If we increased the rate of new doctors entering medicine (using mechanisms such as but not limited to; subsidizing doctors education, further compartmentalizing aspects of health care etc ) until we reached a surplus state then would waiting times and the cost of healthcare go down accordingly?


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  • Sep 12 2013: Waiting times would likely go down, but the American experience with more doctors is that overall costs go up. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the biggest is that more doctors see more patients, and therefore order more tests. It is likely that the price of a pure doctor visit would drop, responding to the supply/demand factors, but doctor costs are only a small minority of health care costs.
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      Sep 12 2013: I feel those are very valid points Tom.

      In fact to paraphrase I think you might be saying that if we wanted to increase efficiency while keeping costs down, we'd have to adjust aspects of all the components related to the service and not single out just one. Other wise the one would drive the other up and little would be gained.

      Am I paraphrasing your thought correctly or?

      What then would you recommend?

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