Most people flip out when economists suggest relaxing government regulation of medical quality. How dare we point out the trade-offs between price, quality, and access? But Robin notes an amazing example we’ve all known about since kindergarten: the school nurse.
Most states have special laws allowing school nurses to directly manage students as patients. True, school nurses can’t do everything docs can, but nurses who offered these same services to passersby at a shopping mall, without direct doc supervision, would violate medical licensing laws. Apparently, we like the comfort of knowing that medical help is onsite at school, but know that an onsite doctor would be very expensive, and so compromise with school nurses.
Pedagogical gold this pure goes straight into my labor econ lectures. Textbook authors and principles teachers, take note.