Learn the Lesson, Rhode Island: Doctor Shortage

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It’s anecdotal, to be sure, but add Ellen Lenox Smith’s letter in the Providence Journal to the evidence that Rhode Island has a worsening doctor problem:

Just last week, I had an appointment with my pulmonologist, who shared that out of the four doctors in his practice, only two are now left. This poor doctor is expected to take on the work of the two that are now gone along with his original patients, and they are not intending to replace those gone. I am so concerned that he will decide it isn’t worth it and leave, too.

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This is not the type of medicine he planned of doing: overstretched, overtired and not able to care for his patients in the manner he was first hired to do.

Rhode Island imposes a high number of mandated coverages on health insurance, driving up the cost.  We’ve pushed nearly one-third of our population into Medicaid.  And our laws are restrictive when it comes to occupational licensing, regulations, and taxation.

This environment of massive government control puts a lot of pressure on the prices that providers can charge customers, which has an effect on how much time they can afford to spend with them, meaning that the job may not be what they wanted it to be.

We need to learn this lesson, because ideological and motivated activists are trying to push our state even farther down this road.  Market forces allow us to match up the things that people want done (and can afford) on one hand and the things that other people are willing to do (for an income they are willing to accept) on the other.

Messing with that freedom-derived balance means that something else is determining who gets what from whom.  Then, the incentives of politics will make it more beneficial to promise the moon to the getters at the expense of the providers.  Even if the current providers tough that out and don’t cross the border, we’ll inevitably see fewer new ones as time goes forward, and everybody will suffer.



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