In 1978 well known economist Milton Friedman discussed the dangers to a free market health care system, citing one specific problem that would inevitably lead to a government monopoly.
His thoughts on the matter suggest that the single most dangerous aspect of the existing health care system is the licensure requirement for physicians. While Friedman is often quoted by conservative pundits and talk show hosts, we have not heard mention of the licensure issue, probably because it is taboo to even suggest such a thing as removing physician licensing requirements by government. The idea may seem ridiculous, but this is because we have never been educated on the actual effects of such a system, not just in health care, but in every other industry that requires licensing.
But what if Friedman was right?
Watch his short speech to an audience at the Mayo Clinic in 1978 and decide for yourself if his worst fears about a collectivist, socialized health care system have come to pass.
Friedman could have given this same speech in 2008, thirty years later – it is still that relevant.
If we continue with the licensure of medical practice then either government or organized medicine is going to have monopoly power in the field. You cannot have a free, competitive medical field. You cannot have an open field and the elimination of these monopolistic restrictions unless you eliminate the power of government at that crucial element.
In my opinion it would provide for better medical care, more widely available, at lower cost for the bulk of the people, and that it would be the only effective way of preventing what seems to be a flood tide toward the complete socialization of medicine.
This problem does not stand alone. It stands as part of a general problem that this nation faces, and that is whether we are going to continue down the road to a completely collectivist society in every area, as we have been going for the past 40 years, or whether we are going to halt that trend.
Hat Tip Carpe Diem Blog
That’s about all I have on this one.
Ridiculous or not, it’s something people should think about.
Reports are now circulating thatÂ there is aÂ shortage of doctors now . And its only going to get worse as many in the health care field quit or move on to other fields of work .
As a Registered Nurse, I have actually know individuals who have claimed to have medical degrees when they did not, and were practicing medicine on an unsuspecting public. Â They were dangerous individuals, trying to practice cook book medicine.
Mr. Friedman is totally wrong! Â I want my doctors to be properly educated, trained an licensed.
@guest – In a free market, you would be free to choose to see doctors “licenced by the AMA”, I would be free to see them and anyone else I trusted. Just because doctors aren’t monopolistically licensed by the AMA doesn’t mean they are bad. Lots of doctors from Europe, Asia, and South America are perfectly competent and practice good medicine, and are not licensed by the AMA. You had better consider that the rest of the world doesn’t worship the AMA, the worship of which is costing the USA dearly, possibly breaking the bank.
And, FWIW, I know two doctors from other countries who live here and work as “assistants” who are perfectly competent practitioners, but cannot work here legally with the AMA rubber stamp of monopoly approval. What a waste of their talents and their education.Â Thank you, I would be happy to see them as much as other physicians I see.
You ever hear this joke? “What do you call the student at the very bottom of the class in medical school? Answer: ‘Doctor'” Â So much for licensure…
Removing government ‘interference’ and regulation would certainly have it’s benefits in the medical sector, but It’s the age old problem of how do you then protect the public from the abuse of opportunistic charlatons like the many who reside in the ‘natural health’ and ‘alternative therapies’ industries.