Free trade in dentistry

by

Dean Baker:

The NYT has a nice piece reporting on the fact that we are paying than ever for dental care, yet the percentage of people who have untreated cavities is on the rise. At the center of the story is the fact that dentists restrict entry into the professional, driving up average compensation close to $200,000 a year.

For some reason, the piece never mentions the restrictions that prevent foreign dentists from practicing in the United States. If enough foreign dentists entered the country to lower average compensation to $150,000, this would save patients $7.5 billion a year. If enough foreign dentists entered the country to bring average compensation down to $100,000 a year, this would save patients $15 billion a year or $50 per person per year.

Why is protectionism only a problem when the immediate beneficiaries are auto workers or textile workers?

Bring on the foreign dentists!

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