Examining Health Care? Don't Forget The Doctor Glut

Robert Kuttner's "A second opinion on the Democrats' health plan" (Economic Viewpoint, July 1) is a clear analysis of the problems of the American health system. However, the failure to address the surplus of health care providers--hospitals and physicians--severely limits the potential of any proposed solution. With the median hospital-occupancy rate at 49%, the surplus is obvious. Since 1975, the ratio of physicians per 100,000 people rose from 187 to 240 (in 1990)--an increase of 28.3%--and is expected to climb to 269 by 2000. Despite that increase, physicians' incomes continue to grow.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.