Scott Becker: We need more physicians and healthcare workers

It's taken me a long time to get to what I think is one of the core problems facing the healthcare industry in the U.S.

As I read an article this morning shared with me by a wonderful leader, it reinforced my thinking: Cost is an issue at every socioeconomic level. Access is as big a problem as cost at every level — rural and urban, poor and rich.

Cost and access cannot be solved without more physicians and allied healthcare professionals. Cuba, notwithstanding all its problems, graduates three times more physicians per capita than the U.S. every year.

Arguments that suggest the U.S. can solve its healthcare cost problem by reducing physician and hospital payments are dense and politically motivated.    

We are all starting to realize that physicians are burning out at an increased pace, and yes, they make a nice living — so what? We need a ton more of them and other health professionals to address our country's healthcare issues.    

If we want to solve healthcare in this country, it may seem counterintuitive, but it's simple. We need to do what so many places — Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va.; Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif.; Hackensack (N.J.) Meridian Health, Florida International University in Miami and more — are doing. We need to open more medical schools, make it easier to become a physician and embrace our provider community again. As part of this, we also need to make immigration easier for healthcare workers to increase ranks of providers to care for our growing and aging population.

 

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