Doctors are not immune to changes in technology. Just wait a few more years, and I can assure you that MDs will also start being replaced by computers.
The problems with JDs and employment is not just about too many law school graduates, but also about a decrease in their relative demand caused by their replacement by software.
Dear 9:44, it's already happening. That's discussed in more detail in Market Fail, Part 2.
For the purposes of nando's blog, what the AMA is doing is far more clever and durable than what the ABA is doing--which makes sense, because the AMA is writing and buying regulations via better lawyers than the ABA has.
Consider the ABA model: in order to reduce the numbers of good attorney jobs and the quality of legal counsel in America, the ABA relaxes standards, allowing non-lawyers to effectively perform every single task lawyers can perform, except for unsupervised courtroom oral argument. Every single other facet of the profession, from the very simple (reading through a brief to pick out the occurrence of a single word) to the complicated (being the only person responsible for developing a novel argument in a commercial litigation case, and supporting it with recent case law) has been made permissible to people who do not have a law license.
Accordingly, cheaper, less-educated, less-skilled, less-experienced people take over the tasks. The profession becomes watered down and un-viable, while the holders of major capital have reduced legal costs. Because the system can no longer sustain more lawyers, fewer (if any) lawyers are available to ordinary people when they have disputes, which now doesn't matter anyway because ordinary people can't afford to pay for legal services.
The net "professional" result of allowing this to happen alongside open admissions standards is a bunch of indebted lawyers with no jobs.
Now, consider the AMA model: in order to reduce the numbers of good physician jobs and the quality of medical services in America, the AMA relaxes standards, allowing non-physicians to effectively perform every single task physicians can perform, except for unsupervised surgery. Every single other facet of the profession, from the very simple (doing a blood draw) to the complicated (being the only person responsible for developing a treatment plan for an unanticipated drug reaction with serious consequences) has been made permissible to people who do not have a physician's license.
Accordingly, cheaper, less-educated, less-skilled, less-experienced people take over the tasks. The profession becomes watered down and un-viable, while the holders of major capital have reduced patient care costs. Because the system can no longer sustain more physicians, fewer physicians and specialists (if any, without four months' wait time) are available to ordinary people when they have health issues, which now doesn't matter anyway because ordinary people can't afford to pay for medical services.
In the legal realm, people simply face overpowering economic abuse and discrimination, lose a chance at fair redress for wrongs done to them, suffer financial catastrophe, and dwell in a climate of uninhibited, un-redressed abuse handed out to those who can't afford to pay.
In the medical realm, people die in emergency rooms, being "stabilized" by coffeed-up residents, while they wait for the one experienced on-call neurologist in that zip code to take a shower and jog downstairs to his BMW for a ride to the hospital.
The real difference is, the AMA decided to artificially lock down admissions standards, making the reduction in available licensed physicians partly correspond to the artificial reduction in demand created by the poverty and hopelessness of recession. Legions of intelligent kids with biology and chemistry backgrounds, high MCATs, and experience in the medical field, get turned down from medical school, and resort to other careers or part-time "pharmacy technician" work, while in their hometown, patients fume at having to wait a month to see a PCP about a simple prescription refill for a drug they've been prescribed continuously for the past ten years.
...people let conditions go undiagnosed, ignore symptoms until the last minute, buy herbal cures on eBay, go on the internet to search for what might be wrong with them, buy generic drug ripoffs in foreign countries, say "to hell with it" and blow off their health because nobody cares anyway, and suffer and die.
...African-American women have prenatal care comparable to that of undeveloped countries, while intelligent kids with 3.9 GPAs get denied spots at top medical schools, so that the AMA can continue limiting the supply of new physicians, and keep rates up. It's "better" for the few doctors who make it, because their salaries are preserved for the time being, but it's horrible for society at large. Not just horrible in the "fewer jobs" way, but in the "people actually, honest-to-god dying way." Early diagnosis and treatment, early counseling, and preventative steps save lives, and those things are not done as well (or done at all) by nurse assistants straight out of high school as they are by physicians with years of clinical experience. What the ABA does is shameful, but the AMA's greater success in preserving member marketability is far more profane.