Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Insourcing Health Care Workers

There is one bright spot in our current recession: jobs in the health care industry increased by more than 1.2 million, with most paying salaries of over $60,000 a year. And demand for health care workers will keep increasing because ObamaCare will add 32 million people to insurance rolls over the next several years. But if you think that is good news, it's not. Medical professional schools are turning away hundreds of thousands of qualified applicants, and the United States instead is importing tens of thousands of foreign workers. Today, about 15% of health care workers are not only foreign-born but are foreign-trained, including a fourth of all physicians.

The blame lies primarily with the schools in the health professions; they have done little to expand their output.

We all know that the cost of higher education has increased faster than inflation for the past two decades, but the cost of health professional education has increased even faster Over the past 20 years, public medical school tuition has increased more than 300%. The number of health professionals is also limited by a bunch of regulations.

On my Saturday live radio program, I recently interviewed an expert on this subject. She is Dr. Kate Tulenko, a board-certified pediatrician with degrees from Harvard, Cambridge in England, and Johns Hopkins Medical School, who has served all over the world for the World Bank. She criticized the U.S.phenomenon of credential creep, that is, requiring more diplomas from health care professionals. Those who used to need a master's degree now must have a Ph.D. in order to get a medical license, which means more years of school, bigger debt, higher wage demands, and fewer workers from low-income areas. The system favors foreign-trained health workers who are not required to meet the same degree requirements. Dr. Tulenko says America has a self-made shortage in health care professionals. The result has been to recruit cheaper workers from other countries and deny good jobs to Americans.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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