Higher Education Parallels Our Healthcare System Too


Please read this NY Times article which describes why the cost of college is so high.  Here are the highlights for those too lazy to click:

  • This is the story college administrators like to tell when they’re asked to explain why, over the past 35 years, college tuition at public universities has nearly quadrupled, to $9,139 in 2014 dollars. It is a fairy tale in the worst sense, in that it is not merely false, but rather almost the inverse of the truth.
  • In other words, far from being caused by funding cuts, the astonishing rise in college tuition correlates closely with a huge increase in public subsidies for higher education.
  • As the baby boomers reached college age, state appropriations to higher education skyrocketed, increasing more than fourfold in today’s dollars, from $11.1 billion in 1960 to $48.2 billion in 1975. By 1980, state funding for higher education had increased a mind-boggling 390 percent in real terms over the previous 20 years. This tsunami of public money did not reduce tuition: quite the contrary.
  • Interestingly, increased spending has not been going into the pockets of the typical professor. Salaries of full-time faculty members are, on average, barely higher than they were in 1970. Moreover, while 45 years ago 78 percent of college and university professors were full time, today half of postsecondary faculty members are lower-paid part-time employees, meaning that the average salaries of the people who do the teaching in American higher education are actually quite a bit lower than they were in 1970.
  • By contrast, a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.
  • Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.
  • The rapid increase in college enrollment can be defended by intellectually respectable arguments. Even the explosion in administrative personnel is, at least in theory, defensible. On the other hand, there are no valid arguments to support the recent trend toward seven-figure salaries for high-ranking university administrators, unless one considers evidence-free assertions about “the market” to be intellectually rigorous.
  • What cannot be defended, however, is the claim that tuition has risen because public funding for higher education has been cut. Despite its ubiquity, this claim flies directly in the face of the facts.

Do you see the parallels to our healthcare system? It’s obvious to anyone.  We are seeing subsidies for Obamacare that will only increase. The tsunami of this public money will not decrease healthcare costs.  It will increase them!  The spending has not gone into the doctors hands.  Just like higher education, the money has gone to more and more administrators who are getting paid more and more.   But,there will always be those idiots who will argue otherwise and make claims that fly directly in the face of the facts.

The resemblance is uncanny.  Please help stop it.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  5 comments for “Higher Education Parallels Our Healthcare System Too

  1. DrG
    January 28, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    In the 1990’s doctors received 20% of the health care dollar. Today they receive less than 11%. Who got the missing money? Health insurance companies and administrators. Some have called the creeping insurance and administrationalism.

  2. Dr Thomas D Guastavino
    January 27, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Someday some smart attorney will figure out that they can file a massive class action lawsuit on behalf of all those students with massive, unpayable student loans naming the colleges, banks and federal government. The charge? Collusion to defraud. The colleges support every government idea and program and in return the government provides virtually unlimited student loans, funded by the banks, and look the other way while the colleges grossly inflate tuitions beyond all reason thereby locking the students in a perpetual cycle of debt. Predatory loans indeed.

    • Doug Farrago
      January 27, 2016 at 9:19 am

      The loans were taken out from the gov’t not the school. So who is going to pay in this bailout? Us!!! Even though I paid for two kids thru college at full price I will have to pay for others too. How fair is that?

  3. Ben Van Raalte
    January 26, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Again, excellent opinion

    Its time to replace the term ADMINISTRATOR with ruling elite or ruling class, powermonger, policitian.

    The King and his lords. The King increased his noble class or lords ( fellow administrators) to protect him from coups and overthrow by the peasants. Which works until there are too many lords and not enough peasants. Note the hospital CEO trick (done by all the hospitals in my area) to hire a person to do their exact position, elevate themselves to a new higher position (?what is higher than CEO) and now give themselves a raise since they are supervising someone at their old salary.

    Maybe it is actually more like the Stalinists. Purge your opponents. Reward yourselves with all the benefits of society as the elite while acting in the “common good”. Starve out those who disagree.

  4. Steve O'
    January 26, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Don’t forget Image Politics! The Professor is not vilified as much as the Doctor, but Professors are seen as fat rich tenured loafabouts teaching Marxist Drivel to the masses and driving off in their Maserati’s to have a tipple at the University Club.
    A great deal of the teaching is supplied by the graduate system that squeezes tens of thousands of students into participating in systems which have hundreds of faculty jobs. The remainder become contract employees – yep, locums again – who teach the classes instead of the faculty. Who’s teaching your kid? Probably a locum “adjunct faculty” making twelve bucks an hour and no benefits, dealing with crying undergraduates. Sound familiar?

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