Thursday, May 24, 2007

Family Doctors

Perhaps the TV program from my youth - Marcus Welby, M.D. - instilled in me an admiration for the profession of "family doctor" since Dr. Welby was probably the nicest gentleman on TV at the time. Whatever the cause a recent decision by one of my alma mater's , the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota not the Virgin Islands!!), to partner with Allina Hospitals and Clinics.

Allina and St. Thomas are considering converting the soon to be closed Ford Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota into a medical school to be focused on training "primary care physicians" (family doctors). Now this is a very interesting economic development idea whereby industrial society assets are converted into service economy resources.

When I first read about this "factory to medical school" proposal I immediately thought:

  • This makes a lot of sense because our population is aging dramatically and we are placing a higher value of good health/long life with each generation (okay, beyond our battle with obesity of course).
  • Why did the federal government provide government-backed loans to Chrysler Corporation in the 1980's (one of the few Ronald Reagan policies I disagreed with)?
  • Today General Motors spends more on health care costs than it spends on steel to produce its automobiles which supports the old joke that, "GM is an insurance company that makes cars as a hobby..........."

If my big government friends don't believe it yet PLEASE think this over -- our quality of life is improved with each generation by the "destructive creativity" that drives our free (partially free to be exact) market economic system. Thus tangible assets like a factory that builds automobiles is converted (potentially) into a medical school because society needs more doctors not automobiles that no one wants to buy anymore (like the Ford Ranger -- which is the only model built at the St. Paul plant).

Progress with some pain,


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