Once everyone has insurance, we need to fix health care providers

Once everyone has insurance, we need to fix health care providers

[Ed. – As in “fix ’em but good]

[S]tarting in 2014 and continuing in years to come, more Americans are going to be able to get health care services.

But far from an end to the cause of health care system reform, this is really just the beginning of a new chapter. If one extra person gets health insurance, she can just walk up and use the health care system we have. But if millions of additional people get insurance, we need to build a system capable of accommodating them. Even in a down economy, the country is not full of unemployed doctors and half-empty hospitals….

[W]e need to bust up constraints on the total supply of doctors. American doctors are paid more than doctors in almost any other country, and yet we have fewer doctors per capita. One possible solution would be immigration: creating clear pathways for foreign-born medical professionals to come to this country and work, especially general practitioners who are in short supply compared with higher-paid specialists. We should also be training more doctors at home. Medical schools have gotten steadily more selective over the past generation rather than expanding with the size of the population, and Congress has refused to pony up the money to finance more residencies.

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