“I’m Asian, I know a lot of doctors.”
Andrew Yang’s silly comment doesn’t withstand scrutiny, at least in Taiwan. There are only 1.7 doctors per 1,000. That’s half the OECD average (3.3).
Compared to OECD countries, Taiwan has fewer doctors and nurses. Physician- and nurse-population ratios in Taiwan are 1.7 doctors and 5.7 nurses per 1,000 population, compared to the median of 3.3 doctors and 8.6 nurses in OECD countries.
Although the population likes the system, doctors don’t.
The scenes bring to mind something I heard from trauma surgeon Li-Jian Chien, a member of the Taiwanese doctors union that formed in 2012 out of the frustrations felt in the medical profession.
In Taiwan, he says, “the patient [is] in heaven” — but “the doctor is in hell.”
Yet doctors and nurses don’t want to increase number of people in their professions. They complain about their workload, yet don’t want it reduced.
Some policy makers and experts, as well as professional associations in Taiwan, including nurses associations, are opposed to increasing the number of new entrants into their professions.
Taiwan also can’t import nurses from the Philippines like the US does, due to language difficulties.
Of course, there are upsides of the NHI, like consumer satisfaction, relatively shorter wait times, world-leading hospitals, great public health, and low administrative costs.