Is More Government the Answer?

This article indicates another problem (one of many) with our health care system: a doctor shortage.

The mainstream answer surprises no one: more government intervention.  President Obama will have a tough time with this one: how do we increase the number of doctors in the country?

Let’s pretend we live in a true market (unregulated) economy.  (We don’t, and I know we don’t, but let’s pretend anyway.)

The market has a number of ways to solve this problem, and does so automatically, without coercion, and without indebting future generations.  As doctors become more scarce, their wages rise.  Patients (doctor’s customers) start figuring out alternate solutions to avoid paying for increasing medical bills: visit a nurse practioner first before a doctor, practice preventative medicine, home care, etc.

Doctors, fearing a loss in business, and entrepreneurs, seeing a profit opportunity, decide to open lower cost clinics to meet increasing needs.

This all takes place without coercion or force, and is completely voluntary.

Now back to the real world.  What will probably happen is that there will be some new government program or initiative which will probably cost more to the taxpayer than it is worth to patients while delivering less than is promised to both doctors and patients.  It will strive to increase access to medical care while claiming to keep costs low.  One way to do this is by implementing waiting lists.  It’s also possible that one group (i.e. big pharmaceutical or insurance companies) will benefit from this deal at the expense of the taxpayer, doctors, and patients.

The bottom line is that it is government intervention which has caused this shortage.  As individuals like Dr. Ron Paul have noted, removing that intervention can reduce the shortage and resolve the problem quickly.  Increasing intervention (which is almost sure to happen) will exacerbate the problem or transfer it somewhere else.

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1 Comment

Filed under Austrian Economics, fiscal policy, Libertarian, politics, role of government, Ron Paul

One response to “Is More Government the Answer?

  1. anon

    “The bottom line is that it is government intervention which has caused this shortage.”

    Amen and Amen!

    The real market solution is to eliminate the power of the AMA to limit the number of new doctors entering the field and eliminate the ‘practice without a license’ penalty. If I chose to go to a veterinarian to set a broken bone it is nobody else’s business. If I chose to consume any herb or mineral to treat my pain it is nobody else’s business.

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