TED Conversations

Martin Odber

This conversation is closed.

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?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Sep 12 2013: There is no system that is perfect, including and especially my desire that people have Health Savings Accounts with overinsurance, rather than government insurance or government healthcare. In the US we have Medicaid for the poor and disabled. These are state run, rather than federal systems. I do not believe we could or should change this system. However, Medicaid is really charity care, and most physicians lose money seeing these patients. We still see them, usually out of a sense of duty or Christian charity, but most practices have strict limits.

    The basic problem with any discussion of healthcare and healthcare funding is that people do not wish to see medical care as an economic service, like any other part of our economy. We have government safety nets for people who cannot afford food or housing, but we would never dream of creating a government bureaucracy to distribute food in some third party payment scheme to everyone in the country, regardless of income. Why should healthcare be any different? We definitely do have socialized education, but that too has dramatic flaws which are publicized daily.

    Like any other economic entity, medical care obeys laws of supply and demand, even if the response is dramatically distorted by government interference. More to the point, medical care must respond to the first problem of economics: how to most effectively distribute finite amounts of goods and services. ALL economic systems must make this decision. I do not believe that bureaucracies, either government or insurance companies, should be making this decision for us. Bureaucracies IMHO behave in ways to make their existence better, with any production being only a lucky side benefit. I would put us in charge of our own lives, and making our own decisions about our own medical care. The system of HSAs with overinsurance is the best I have seen toward achieving this goal.
    • thumb
      Sep 12 2013: Tom,
      You have made some good points. Because of my inappropriate lifestyle, I find my self with seeing several medical specialists. I have already lost my internist, who told me that he could not sustain his practice on an economical basis so he left to join a new Medical Company that has opened small offices in strip malls all over town. My cardiologist dropped his patients, to work in a hospital as a surgical second??
      Medical Care is a business. I had said before that when I heard of the AHA, I imagined a series of
      public health offices to provide basic care to poor and uninsured instead of short changing established practices with low ball medicare payments. I know that thought was full of holes, but it was my imagination.

      What we got was a complex insurance scheme that I am sure will benefit health care insurance companies in spite of the fact some politicians gleefully imagined that it would lead to the end of private insurance companies and the establishment of a government single payer program... medicare on steroids. With some experience in this area, I am sure the private insurance companies are just a gleefully imagining a windfall profit from all the new customers AHA is forcing into the system.

      Two views.... I am betting on the business side.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.