An excellent, and well-researched story by the New York Times has brought up a different aspect of the immigration question. It seems that doctors who were trained in other countries and then decide that they’d like to move to the U.S. to live and practice have a very long and difficult path ahead of them, sometimes taking a decade to get through.
On one hand, those involved in the process suggest that maintaining the very high standards of American medical training require this sort of rigorous approach. The problem is that medical training in other countries as well as their licensing practices are also stringent and in many cases, pretty close to ours. As a professional cynic, I seriously wonder if this system has been put in place to simply protect home grown doctors and medical schools and cut down on competition.
In the U.S. there are very specific limits on how many students medical schools accept each year and thus far, the demand is far outstripping the supply of trained, licensed doctors. Further complicating matters is that in 2014 when Obamacare comes fully into practice, millions more people will be getting medical insurance and starting to seek medical care, which will put even more stress on a system that is broken, overstressed and understaffed.
Nobody is suggesting that we simply open the floodgates and allow anyone claiming to be a doctor to just set up shop and start treating patients. However, we currently require practicing physicians from other countries to not only pass rigorous tests, but to also complete a multi-year residency (even if they did so already in their home country). The other option would be to allow American medical schools to start to accept more students. We certainly don’t have limits on law schools and lawyers in this country. Why is it we do limit doctors, who are far more useful than lawyers?
The article goes into great detail and examines the issue from all sides. I’d strongly suggest reading it and then, perhaps contacting your Congress critter and asking what can be done to fix this situation.
To read the complete story, please click here.
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