The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

Subscribe to the blog

Discussion: (8 comments)

  1. Stan Goldfarb

    In 1996, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences issued a decree that no new medical schools be created and no increase in post graduate training programs be established. THey did this based on erroneous manpower studies that suggested that there were major surpluses in the number of physicians, particularly specialist physicians. I am not a member of the AMA but it is not correct to attribute the current situation to the AMA. Rather, it was academic studies and a government related institute that drove the current situation. Currently, there is a large expansion underway in the size of medical school classes and the number of new schools. You are correct in your assessment of the data but not correct in the cause of the disorder. You also must realize that it is at least a 5 to 7 year lag for increasing the number of medical students graduating and another 4 years for new fully trained doctors to be available.

    1. stan, although u are correct in many things u say, u are going to be wrong about a lot of these things going “Forward”. The reason naturally is OBAMACARE. This massive healthcare spending bill/law/insurance is going to be a three-headed hydra coming down the pike. Soon, with all the newly, socially insured, clinics and doctors offices will be flooded with patients. Everything from hangnails to brain tumors. It’s going to be like a tidal wave of humanity hitting the medical system. Since, as u know the system is NOT all that resilient, the only think the system can do is add more workers. It will mean more nurses aides and physician/medical assistants but also more nurses, doctors, med techs and therapists…and therapy aids. And, the turnover time is going to be MUCH quicker. Instead of pre-med students going for four years of University training, I anticipate their going for only two years to a junior or community college in order for them to get finished sooner and into medical school. More underqualified med students will be accepted because more med schools will have been built with bigger classrooms (as u mentioned). the length of med school likely will be shortened to: two or three years? course challenges and intensity will decrease, and an MD degree won’t hold the same weight as it once did. furthermore, the newly graduating med students won’t yet have learned the beginnings of proper diagnosing techniques let alone treatments. med residency programs likely will be foreshortened and watered down too. graduates will be ill-prepared to handle cases as young attendings, not having put in 1/2 the time as previously recommended as a minimum. surgeries will be botched and medical diagnoses and treatments will be incorrect. going to a doctor in the future will be a sham, but it will more than what many people got in the past. undoubtedly the public will still be happy to get a chance to see a doctor. the real question will become: after having world-class care in our country, will we be able to tolerate a significant dumbing down of our medical personnel?

  2. Kent Lyon

    The AMA is not a trade union. The vast majority of its financial resources come from the federal government via Medicare contracts to write code books (ICD and Cpt code books). Only about 15 percent of physicians are members and the organization acts against the best interests of both physicians and patients. The organization is best described as a branch of the federal government which funds it. It is a regulatory/enforcement arm of Medicare. Those physicians who belong are pretty much the same as the old Communist party apparatchiks in the old soviet union.
    Kent J. Lyon MD

    1. Kent, are u saying that I was funding the old apparatchiks of the USSR by being a member of the AMA? it did have a certain feeling of coercion for joining as if you didn’t give them the money, they may come break your arm. well, my arm never got broken but I guess I’m out the money for things that did seem weren’t in my best interest at times. oh well, easy come, easy go – I don’t belong anymore.

  3. Charles Prickett

    Another poorly researched study. Again as stated above, most physicians do not belong to the AMA as for thirty years it has poorly represented their needs and beliefs. The genesis of the physician shortage began in the early 1980’s with a government sponsored study predicting a physician surplus. This was a thinly veiled attempt to limit Medicare spending by limiting the number of providers. At that time many medical schools were planning to expand their classes. Most schools cancelled these plans and some even cut back on class size. Another example of the failure of centralized planning. CPrickettMD

  4. The responders to this great article miss the point: even though most physicians are not AMA members, quasi governmental organizations have the authority to limit the supply of physicians via caps on medical school and residency size

    In a true free market no big government license (dependent upon completing a so called accredited residency) would be needed to practice medicine

    The free market would select the best doctors

  5. Walt Butsch

    I am an Aerospace Engineer who has come to know and appreciate the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Flying is by it’s nature a risky form of transportation. The FAA has made it one of the safiest and efficient forms of transportation of goods and people. The United States needs a Federal Medical Administration (FMA). It is no accident the U.S. has the most expensive Medical cost in the World. How much do you think we would pay for a Carpenter if the Carpenter’s Union controled how many Carpenters the were allowed to pratice? The AMA is a very strong Union and it’s past time the U.S. Government needs to make sure this Union is brought under control. The AMA is adding a very large cost to U.S. companies that can’t pass the cost on, thus U.S. manufacturing is shrinking.

    1. Death remains at 100%,more doctors will lower the cost of being robbed before the end. So free medical school for all and unlimited doctors, some medicine will be better than no medicine.

Comments are closed.

Sort By:

Refine Content:


Additional Keywords:

Refine Results

or to save searches.

Refine Content