Friday, June 16, 2017

Solve America's medical mess. License more foreign doctors.

The President and the Congress are deliberating a bill to replace Obamacare with a market-based solution. I have such a solution. Relax the licensing requirements for foreign doctors to practice in America.

Russia for one has many doctors, many of them quite good. They come to America in large numbers, they will drive down the costs of medicine through competition. The result will be a much greater reduction in medical costs than can be done by any government-based bill.

According to a Soviet-born American economist named Mikhail Alexeyev, the real reason for the high costs of medicine in America is cartelization by AMA. It is very hard to become a doctor in America, and it is harder for a foreign doctor to be licensed to practice in America. If you have to have a 4.0 GPA to get into medical school, have to pay through the roof to finance your education, and do 18 hour days in residency, very few people will be able to become doctors. And limited supply will always meet high demand at an exceptionally high rate.

There is a solution to this problem. It is to increase the supply of doctors by licensing more foreign doctors. In Russia and China, there are many qualified doctors who do not get paid very well where they are. Many of them would be happy to come in America. These people are neither incompetent nor stupid. They are excellent at what they do, and they would do good job in America.

If Mr. Trump is serious about fixing America's medical mess, this is what he would look to do. There is no way that there will be enough doctors graduating in American medical schools to satisfy the rising demand as the baby boomers retire. But abroad there are millions of qualified professionals. They come to America in large numbers, they will fulfil this demand. And that will reduce the medical problem in this country.

Now Barack Obama did not appear to have the guts to take on the root of the problem as Mr. Alexeyev articulated it; but Donald Trump just might. If workable solutions cannot be achieved from within, then they can be incentivized from without. Increase the supply of doctors. Reduce medical costs through competition. Allow qualified doctors a chance at a better life. Positives all around.

This would be the true market-based medical solution. And that will reduce medical costs better than Obamacare or any other government-based action.


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