A Valley program for training orthopedic surgeons is getting ready to close its doors. Some are predicting the closure will deliver a blow to the Valley's already-scant supply of physicians. This concern is misplaced.
A 2001 Goldwater Institute report found that federal and state regulations and mandates in the health care marketplace, not lack of teaching programs, is to blame for Arizona's physician shortage. To attract more physicians to the state, policymakers should consider introducing measures to energize the marketplace, including individual medical savings accounts, association health plans and eliminating restrictions on individual interstate health care insurance coverage.
The current threat of medical malpractice litigation may also deter doctors from practicing in Arizona. Consumers, moreover, end up paying the price in terms of a limited health care market and increased insurance premiums. Addressing this will take some doing. Any changes to the Arizona tort system require changing the state constitution.