Friday, July 18, 2008

Opposing Tides

While Free Market Physician advocates free market solutions and shaking off debilitating government restrictions to resolve health care problems, other entities continue to push increased centralization to try to control the industry. For such entities, a "smoldering crisis" justifies increased government control. We affirm that these efforts to control the industry are the core cause of its current dysfunctions, and further efforts to do so will cause increased dysfunction.

An example of these attempts to control is evident in a new publication from the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC) addressing problems in the healthcare workforce. The publication is available from the AAHC site. The stated premises are as follows:

• The dysfunction in public and private health workforce policy and infrastructure is an outgrowth of decentralized decision-making in health workforce education, planning, development and policymaking;
• The costs and consequences of our collective failure to act effectively are accelerating due to looming socioeconomic forces that leave no time for further delay;
• Cross-cutting challenges that transcend geographical and professional boundaries require an integrated and comprehensive national policy to implement effective solutions;
• The issues and problems outlined in the report have not been effectively addressed to date because of the inability of policymakers at all levels to break free from the historic incremental, piecemeal approaches; and
• Despite many challenges, the prospects for positive change are high.

We encourage our readers to examine the publication and comment on its merits and downfalls.

Rusty Scalpel

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