The NYT had two articles on occupational licensing requirements today and there was not one mention of the restrictions that lead us to pay twice as much for our doctors as other wealthy countries. It is illegal to practice medicine in the United States unless you completed a U.S. residency program. In other words, under the law, all of those doctors trained in Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and other wealthy countries can't be trusted to provide people in the United States with medical care.

This is called "protectionism." We all know it is stupid, self-defeating, backward looking, etc. when it comes to steelworkers, textile workers, and other workers who tend to be less educated. But somehow all our great proponents of free trade can't seem to notice the protectionism that benefits doctors. And this is real money. The average pay of doctors in the United States is more than $250,000 a year. If they were paid in line with the average for other wealthy countries the savings would be on the order or $100 billion a year or a bit more than $700 per household. 

Anyhow, it striking to see the topic of unnecessary occupational licensing restrictions being addressed but zero discussion of the most costly one of them all. Hasn't the NYT heard about doctors?

FWIW, our dentists are over-protected and over-paid also. Until recently, dentists have to graduate a U.S. dental school to practice in the U.S. In the last few years, we began to allow graduates of dental schools in Canada.

Perhaps at some point our doctors and dentists will  have to get by without protectionism and learn to compete in the global economy — but reporters will probably have to notice first.