The Corner

Health Care

Not Enough Doctors

How we got here:

The number of practicing physicians per person in the United States is lower than in just about any other developed country. Yet from 1980 to the early 2000s, the prevailing wisdom was that the number of physicians within the United States ought to be reduced. During this period, a series of ill-judged reports by the federal government warned of an impending physician surplus. These reports ushered in a period in which both private and public actors took actions to constrain the supply of U.S. physicians, the most significant of which was the medical school moratorium. The resulting dearth of physicians had the effect of making U.S. health care more intensive and less accessible than it otherwise would have been.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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