Economic Woman

Econometrics, gender, equity and more.

Strange Solutions to Single-Payer Problems

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Some stories will not die. Early this month, a Macleans article blamed Canada’s GP shortage on female doctors. Women, they suggested, are more likely to work part-time, and all that time they spend with their families sap the health care system of needed (wo)man hours.

The first problem with the story is that it isn’t true. Thea summed this up well over at Shameless, so I won’t go into too much depth, but according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal:

The decline in physicians’ working hours is attributed more to the decline in hours worked by male physicians than the increasing proportion of female physicians.

Now the story is back, this time in Britain:

The rising number of female doctors is “bad for medicine”, and universities should recruit more men, a GP warns. Writing in the British Medical Journal, Dr Brian McKinstry said female doctors were more likely to work part-time, leading to staffing problems.

Our single-payer systems keep costs under control by restricting medical school admission. In setting medical school admission rates, the government is assuming that each medical school graduate will work a certain number of hours over the course of their career. If graduates – male or female – are working fewer hours than expected, then train more doctors! Sure, we’ll spend a little more on training, but keeping qualified candidates out of med school is a bizarre solution, with its own welfare costs.

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Written by Allison

5 April 2008 at 12:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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