A Supply Side Solution for Healthcare

I doubt I will persuade any politicians, but here is my solution to healthcare: increase the supply.  Specifically, each state could build one new medical school and maybe four or five new nursing schools.

There is already a network of community colleges in place.  Low cost clinics could be set up for basic preventive and screening care and for treatment of conditions not requiring hospitalization.  Newly graduated physicians could do their residencies in these clinics in exchange for student loan forgiveness and a livable salary.

In 1997 the federal government decided to limit the number of residency programs.  In the 1980s some bureaucrats decided that the way to reduce the cost of healthcare was to decrease the number of students admitted to medical school.  They believed that HMOs would make medicine more effecient thus decreasing the need for doctors.

Getting into medical school now is like winning the lottery.  Every year thousands of qualified applicants are rejected because there are not enough slots.  Premed undergraduate courses such as organic chemistry weed out the unqualified.  Of course we want the best and the brightest taking care of our health–but too many of them are being turned away.

Increasing the supply of healthcare workers and facilities would address part of our healthcare problem–and the new construction projects would provide a stimulus to the economy in our current recession.

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