Works Better in Theory

Assigned Reading: Physician Shortage is Getting Worse

Dr. William Harvey has written extensively here at AR about some of the realistic problems with the proposed healthcare reform legislation. One of the major problems he has highlighted is that we don’t have enough doctors. What good is it to promise millions of Americans access to healthcare on paper if there are no doctors and nurses to provide the healthcare? The government may as well pass a law mandating that everyone gets a pink unicorn.

When markets are allowed to operate freely prices are the mechanism that transfer information from producers to consumers. How else to you think it is possible to get online retailers, internet service providers, software developers in Apple, assembly plants in China, hardware vendors all across the world, and raw-material suppliers to all coordinate so that you can buy an iPod from Government intervention to control the economy and force people to provide or consume destroys the communication system of the market.

None of this is rhetorical. We are feeling the impacts already:

Brace yourselves: Demand for physicians continues to outstrip supply, and the problem is likely to get worse, according to new data.

Researchers found that about 95 percent of those CEOs reported a physician shortage, with a vacancy rate of 11 percent, potentially compromising care in almost half of those cases. This was despite the fact that 34 percent of the CEOs had increased their physician staff roster within the previous six months.

Meanwhile, physician vacancies aren’t the only major headache hospital CEOs face. Ninety-one percent of CEOs said that they were seeing a nursing shortfall, though the vacancy rate was just 6 percent.

Markets don’t just react to prices today. They react to expectations for what those prices will be tomorrow. And right now the Democrats are working their hardest to send discouraging messages to doctors and nurses. We will pay you less. And we will control you more.

The government is promising something it can’t deliver. We can’t have more healthcare without doctors to provide it. They can’t live up to their promises to provide access to millions of Americans because without the doctors in place there is no access to be had. And their attempts to control the market are going to make the doctor shortage worse rather than better.



  1. MARCUS WELBY says:

    Is there a doctor in the house!!???

    You couldn't pay me to go to Med school. Who wants to work for Barry?

  2. goddessdivine says:

    The government may as well pass a law mandating that everyone gets a pink unicorn.

  3. goddessdivine says:

    (Forgot to finish my comment….)

    That line just says it all. Brilliant.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Those pink unicorns come out of the Medicare trust fund.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great piece of LOGIC, Robert! I have lived in a "healthcare" household all of my life. I have never worked in the profession, but I have ALWAYS lived with those that have……and let me tell you, their lives are anything less than cakewalks! I used to have to take my baby and toddler to the county hospital to see their father (a resident) so they didn't forget who he was, since he left each day before they awoke (which was EARLY!) and arrived home long after they went to bed. When he did get home before they were asleep, he was usually already in a sleep-deprived coma. That lasted for 6 years AFTER medical school! Then he entered practice and had even a worse situation for 5 years until he threw up his hands and said, "I can't do this anymore….my children will never know me!" We made some changes, but he still works very hard…that's just the kind of guy he is…..ALWAYS an Eagle Scout!

    Lisa in TX

  6. DR AL GORE says:

    We are going need a lot of hypothermia doctors!

    (12-08) 11:58 PST SAN FRANCISCO — The blast of arctic air that froze the Bay Area early today resulted in record-tying low temperatures as far south as Moffett Field and as far north as San Rafael.

    "This is a shot of arctic air that came down," said Diana Henderson, a forecaster for the weather service in Monterey. "It happens every year in varying strengths. Maybe this one was a little early in the season."

    Today's low of 31 degrees at Moffett Field tied the mark for the coldest Dec. 8 low on record there, set in 1994. San Rafael's low of 28 equaled a record for the date set in 1972.

  7. scp says:

    This shortage is by design –

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well, if the govt. says I have to get a pink unicorn, then, BY GOLLY, I am going to go out and get a pink unicorn right now!

    After all, they know best….

    Lisa in TX

  9. La Muse Poetique says:

    So I heard the AMA limits the number of doctors that are allowed to practice.

    Is this true?

  10. Anonymous says:

    They will lure Doctors from every corner of the world to fill demand. America will become a traning ground.

  11. JUST SAYIN says:

    Here is something else that worked better in theory:

    A young, clean articulate, inexperienced man of color being President.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am sovereignly challenged….. I almost don't wanna live here anymore, but nowhere to go.

  13. Anonymous says:


  14. POKEMON says:


    like I really want some Bangladeshi trainee working on my prostate.

  15. Robert Wallace says:

    La Muse-

    If you mean that they generally make it difficult to practice then that's true of all professional organizations. Doesn't matter if you're talking actuaries or lawyers or doctors. They make exams and such hard because they want to maximize the benefit of those who are already in the organization, and one way to do that is to keep the numbers low. Difficulty of a test is a simple way to keep a barrier to entry without getting too much bad publicity.

    If you mean that they actually have a hard cap on how many doctors they allow, then I haven't heard about that and I'd be surprised.

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