Since I recently poked at my friend, Dean Baker, let me agree with him strongly on a recent post of his dealing with an important issue widely ignored, the need to relax our strict immigration rules for physicians. It is widely agreed that the major threat to future US fiscal solvency is the rising cost of medical care. US physicians are paid on average $250,000 per year, more than twice what European ones are, and simply higher than any others in the world. If salaries were to fall to European levels, we would save $100 billion per year in medical costs. However, neither political party is pushing this, and it is rarely discussed among the many ideas that get put forward regarding controlling medical care costs. Almost certainly this reflects the power of the AMA with both political parties.
A sign of this ignoring is a recent NY Times article on STEM immigration that Dean links to. He very reasonably points out how there is no mention of the physician issue, and indeed the US has a shortage of physicians, particularly of primary care ones. He has also long complained about high income professionals such as doctors and lawyers being for free trade, but imposing immigration restrictions on potential competitors for themselves. For more discussion, see http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/why-arent-they-talking-about-immigrant-doctors .