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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 11 2013: "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?"

    The free market still dominates the equation as it relates to artificially subsidizing doctor education. There are many reasons one wishes to become a doctor, but the one that still dominates is to generate a healthy income. I guess what I'm saying is that the benefits, financially speaking, of being a doctor have to outweigh the cost(and time) of going through the educational process to become one. Minimizing the barrier to entry presumes that this is the biggest factor one might not decide to become a doctor. This is the phenomenon we are seeing already.

    The fundamental problem with the very reasonable idea of "providing health care for all", is that it doesn't equate to "access." In fact it decreases access which is what we've seen in Canada and will soon see here in the U.S. This is the problem that no one ever bothered to figure out and the one that will become the overwhelming issue for those that experience it. The free market typically turns towards alternative forms of privatized competition. The private health care industry is already organizing itself here in the United States because they are well aware that "access" will become the most critical issue we face moving forward.
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      Sep 12 2013: Greed, is the primary reason for becoming a doctor?
      There have to be alot of easier ways for people to make good money than doctoring, not to mention less stressful. I agree doctors can make a great living, but a part of me still feels that something inside them wants to help people, and that something inside them enjoys the power of taking on sickness and death.. and winning. I feel there are other motivators and that lowering the barrier would not result in less interest.

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      The fundamental problem with the very reasonable idea of "providing health care for all", is that it doesn't equate to "access."

      I totally agree with you here Matthew. You make alot of sense. The more people eligible for health the more resources it will take to care for them.

      YOu mentioned Canada's healthcare system? Look at it over time. Our health care system ROCKED..until lately. When market forces were manipulated to make "privatizing" look good many Canadians thought ..what more service for less money? AWESOME and took up the cause. What happens? Less service, less cost due to cutting corners until the health system looks like confetti, and the administration soaking up the savings. Frankly privatization does not impress me in the least, and I find it fascinating that anyone but the private company owners are even amused.

      Lastly, you mention the free market system. I don't think there is one frankly in anything but name. To me, a free market system means that cost = demand divided by supply, and that supply is only inhibited by resources.

      In truth on any given market there are likely to be many forces acting on it to control supply and increase demand to drive up prices. So much for free market.

      Matthew do you see any way we can work together as a country so everyone is looked after, or in your opinion should it just be every man and woman for themselves?
      • Sep 12 2013: Martin, I have read several of your posts and complaints about wait times and doctor shortages. I do not believe that the number of doctors available in Canada has anything to do with it. I believe that it is due to the third party payment system that you have there. If it was YOU who paid the doctor, and not someone else, your wait time would approach zero. Doctors, like everyone else, know which side their bread is buttered on. If the doctor's income depended on just your opinion of them, and not a bureaucracy of the government or insurance company, the level of service delivered to you would improve dramatically. That is why Obamacare is being fought against so desperately. While some people will have their insurance subsidized, the majority of Americans will see their insurance rates increase, and will lose some of their control over medical finance decision making.

        So what is to be done? In my best case scenario, insurance companies or the government would simply act as overinsurance, not funding for routine medical care. To make up the difference, each of us would contribute to Health Savings Accounts, a tax sheltered savings vehicle for medical care. Each individual would start contributing to the account as soon as they could in life, but certainly before the time they are forced off parental insurance. Contributing $4000/ year would create a huge pile of money, to be used strictly on medical care. Insurance would cover costs over whatever limit each individual chose. For instance, if one had $50,000 in their account, one could buy insurance for any costs exceeding this amount.
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          Sep 12 2013: Tom, your plan does sound mighty good for those with the money to afford their own, but for those without.. I'd reckon its just too bad to sad eh?

          To answer properly, I'm going to thank Bob Stiglitz for providing what Canada's Greatest Canadian had to say on this matter. please take the time to watch and consider it before passing final judgement.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2oUInTUlAM
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          Sep 12 2013: Tom, you are exactly right and I'm a huge fan of HSAs, and they solve many issues including the removal of attorneys in many instances. Like you I believe we help those in need for limited amounts of time, but we don't take compassion and turn into a massive bureaucracy to make everybody equally miserable.

          As I mentioned to Martin, "Social Justice" is to blame for much of this and it isn't getting any better. Success does not equal greed, wealth isn't proof positive of theft, and "rights" need to be about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not guaranteed outcomes for all.

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