Do charitable medical organizations such as the March of Dimes support medical trade as an effective means of lowering the cost of health care? I honestly don't know what they're thinking. But I do know that our favorite medical charities also happen to be very powerful lobbies in health care. They can be heard in Congress when the average American has essentially no voice in public policy. They can be called upon to testify in committees the have oversight of their work. They exist to conduct research in their respective domains and to help mitigate the costs of health care. Often we can see them providing generous support for people who can't afford to pay for expensive medical procedures.
Yet, I can't recall even one of them asking for or supporting a treaty or law that would subject American doctors to the same competitive forces of global competition that middle class working Americans endure year after year. Where American manufacturing workers must compete with third world countries, doctors have a Congress ready to restrict the number of doctors who are taught medicine. They have a Congress that will not even consider any bill or treaty that would make it easier for foreign doctors to practice medicine here, in the United States.
Could it be that to do so would be counter to the interests of a health care charity? What if the high cost of health care is a part of the medical charity business model, and that doing anything to reduce those costs would go against the purpose of the business? Charities are businesses, just like any other business. They're just non-profit businesses and the CEO often earns 6-figure and sometimes 7-figure salaries to manage them well.
I believe that if the average American can't get a voice in Congress, they can make themselves heard through their charities. I know that charities shouldn't engage in politics. But that doesn't stop the American Association of Retired Persons from expressing their opinion, does it? Maybe the health care charities of America can help average Americans by working to help reduce the costs of health care through free trade.
For example, medical charities can help to establish standards of education and training for foreign doctors to come here and practice medicine. They can contribute research to the Department of Health and Human Services to help research and define such standards. They are international organizations that can share their information worldwide and help to get governments to cooperate.
A common argument I hear about free trade is that if we lower trade barriers, other countries will develop faster, they will be come industrialized and eventually, their standards of living will rise. They will also earn more money with better education and skills. If we're at all concerned about health care in third world countries, free trade in health care is a great way to solve that problem.
If it works for cars, clothes and electronics, it's probably going to work out well for medicine, too.