Sunday, August 30, 2009

Immigrants kill patients? Or the welfare model?

Mikko Ellilä reports that "Immigrant doctors kill Finnish patients" (originally covered by Iltalehti). Patients are having problems explaining their problems to doctors because there's a language barrier now. Because of a shortage of Finnish doctors, many immigrants have been hired as doctors lately. This is causing problems, some of them life-threatening. For example, a patient was given cough medicine when he was in fact having a heart failure. According to the news piece, these problems are increasing.

But this isn't an immigration-related problem; rather, it is a fundamental flaw of the welfare model. In the absence of market-determined prices, supply and demand are prevented from adjusting to an equilibrium (market clearing) level. In a market economy a shortage of doctors should lead to an increase in their salaries which in turn should encourage more people to seek medical education.

A common argument against the free-market solution is that people cannot afford market prices. But people forget that their disposable incomes are being eroded by the welfare model. When the government takes more than 50% of the money you make, it is no wonder people feel poor.

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