Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Setting the medical bar

The soaring cost of health care as a percentage of GDP has forced public servants (and some private insurers) to make well researched decisions on what services should be covered based on health outcomes and costs. This research currently applies to procedures and medication.

Why aren't the same rules used to set the target cost of medical labor? Without resorting to government control of wages in the medical field, health regulators could increase the supply of labor by reducing medical schooling requirements, both in terms of difficulty and length. Doctors are likely overqualified today, in the sense that health outcomes would be sensibly unchanged if the medical education bar was set much lower.

Why isn't this issue at the forefront of all health reforms?