Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Outsourcing Medicine

Supposedly, radiology is being outsourced to India.

On ABC, George Will said the outsourcing of radiology could make health care affordable again, to which Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York retorted that thousands of American radiologists would lose their jobs. On NPR, an economist said the pay of radiologists was already suffering. At the White House, an adviser to President Bush suggested that fewer medical students would enter the field in the future.

Which leads me to wonder why Schumer is sticking up for people that make $350,000 per year. Isn't this the class of people that are ruining America? The dreaded top 5%? Either way, why are the jobs of a handful of people more important than millions of people getting cheap x-rays? If the total cost of healthcare can be reduced by outsourcing a service, I'm all for it.

There are other fallacies associated with this as well. Does anyone think that all of these people will lose their job? I doubt it. They go on to worry that less people will enter the field. So what? That just means that they will do something else that has more value.

Because these people tend to be more powerful than your average factory worker, so expect to see special licensing requirement to "protect" these jobs. The arguments will include xenophobia, safety - you know, all the standard protectionist arguments.

If you continue reading the NYT column by David Leonhardt you will see it is much ado about nothing, but when has government ever been afraid of solving problems that don't exist?

HatTip: Prometheus

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