The debate over health care in America is now front-page news almost every day.
Everyone seems to agree that there is something wrong with the system and that something should be done—but what should we do?
There are four major causes of this surge in demand: 1) the aging of America, 2) poor health habits and lifestyles of Americans, 3) the needs of Canadians and others who purchase much of their medical care in the U.
S., and 4) the increasing prevalence of third party payers (insurance).
The following article was originally published in early 1994.
At the time that he wrote this article, Mike Winther was the Executive Director of the Society for Handicapped, a Modesto, California-based charity.Instead of increasing medical school enrollment, some medical schools have actually reduced the number of annual admissions. As our population has grown larger and older, our supply of trained doctors, nurses, and other professionals has not kept up with the increased demand.It should come as no surprise that health care costs are rising.The wrong medicine will certainly not promote the patient’s health, and it may even prove fatal. An understanding of supply and demand is absolutely essential to any discussion of prices. In this regard, medical care is no different than any other product or service.As we tinker with the health of an entire nation, should we be any less diligent in our diagnosis? Everyone has heard of “supply and demand”, but few people have applied this basic concept to medical care.But the truth of the matter is that there is no oversupply of health care providers; in fact, just the opposite is true. An article appearing in the July 27th issue of the Washington Times stated that, “U. physicians fresh out of their residencies are being riddled with job offers.” The article continues, “Two-thirds of young doctors receive at least 50 job offers during their residencies and almost 50 percent receive more than 100.” The U. has approximately 120 medical schools that each average about 100 admissions a year. Some medical schools will have over 10,000 applications this year.Unfortunately, many of our best and brightest students will never make it into medical school. Davis Medical School admitted 100 students each year; they now admit 93.Although this article was written over a decade ago, we feel that it is still timely and relevant to the health care crisis that is once again front-page news in America.We hope this re-publishing will be of educational benefit to our current readership.What is surprising is that none of the current health care proposals make any effort to deal with the supply of health care providers.The demand for health care services is indeed increasing significantly in America.