Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Health Workforce: Are DeLong and Henderson Worrying too Much?

Brad DeLong sees health workforce constraints as a problem with the increased demand that will come along with health reform. David Henderson gives him (somewhat unwelcome) praise for making the point.

I don't know what to think, but this sort of talk makes me uneasy. Why shouldn't the increased demand bid up health worker wages? Why shouldn't that draw new people into the field? One reason why is the AMA, which puts constraints on this market that I wish I understood better. But this still seems like an odd worry to have from the get-go. I feel like I need to have a good reason before I get worried about this. Health care is a well-paying, well-respected profession. If it had stagnant wages and reputation I might look to the increased demand from health reform with more concerns.

I told myself that I would use the Shapley/Roth Nobel as an opportunity to learn more about the health workforce, after being exhorted to by Brad himself. I did do a medium-thorough skimming of several of Roth's articles but then other obligations butted in. Maybe this winter break - it is an important issue. Does anybody know about a good book on this labor market?

1 comment:

  1. Why shouldn't the increased demand bid up health worker wages?

    You are ignoring where the money to pay those wages will come from. The health care bill specifies that much of its funding will come from reductions in payments to hospitals and doctors.

    Health care has ceased to be a growing job market.


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