The doctors have been claiming that there are shortages in the numbers of physicians and that the shortage is due to laws which hold doctors accountable for negligence that causes harm to patients. (You know, just as if they were truck drivers or other real people.)

Well, yesterday’s Los Angeles Times wrote about the shortage of physicians. Take a look at this:

“The number of medical school graduates has remained virtually flat for a quarter century, because the schools limited enrollment out of concern that the nation was producing too many doctors. But demand has exploded, driven by population gains, a healthy economy and a technology-driven boom in physicians’ repertoires, which now include such procedures as joint replacement and liposuction.”

Ah, the only supply and demand thing. The docs limited the number of doctors, keeping competition down and prices for services up, and now there is a shortage. Big surprise.

You’ll love this: “How did so many smart people and groups -including the American Medical Assn. – predict a doctor glut not too long ago? They say they bought into a notion that health maintenance organizations would ratchet down physician demand by promoting preventive care and reducing tests and procedures. Tightly managed care was expected to become so widespread and effective that it would put many physicians out of work. ‘They said we’d all be driving taxicabs,’ recalled Dr. Neil Parker, an associate dean at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine.”

And consider this: “At the same time, younger male physicians and women – who constitute half of all medical students – are less inclined to work the slavish hours that long typified the profession. As a result, the next generation of physicians is expected to be 10% less productive, Edward Salsberg, director of the Assn. of American Medical Colleges’ Center for Workforce Studies, told a congressional committee in May.” No surprise there either – we are seeing the same thing in the law.

Some doctors – certainly not all – have seized upon the misjudgments of the medical schools and the AMA to blame the shortage of doctors on lawyers. This article sets the record straight.

They ought to be ashamed.

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