Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Obamacare to Cause 150,000 Doctor Shortage in 15 Years

There is already a shortage of primary care physicians and few are in the pipeline.
“The number of U.S. medical school students going into primary care has dropped 51.8% since 1997, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Considering it takes 10 to 11 years to educate a doctor, the drying up of the pipeline is a big concern to health-care experts.”

The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates there will be a shortage of up to 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years due to passage of Obamacare. There aren't any provisions in the Democrats health care reform bill to address this serious shortage.

The WSJ reported:
The new federal health-care law has raised the stakes for hospitals and schools already scrambling to train more doctors.

Experts warn there won’t be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

That shortfall is predicted despite a push by teaching hospitals and medical schools to boost the number of U.S. doctors, which now totals about 954,000.

The greatest demand will be for primary-care physicians. These general practitioners, internists, family physicians and pediatricians will have a larger role under the new law, coordinating care for each patient.

The U.S. has 352,908 primary-care doctors now, and the college association estimates that 45,000 more will be needed by 2020. But the number of medical-school students entering family medicine fell more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007.

A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could mean more-limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients.

Hat Tip: Bluegrass Pundit


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. The government is really reducing motivation to go to med school on top of the above shortage they're creating. Years of schooling, all night study sessions, debt that you could have bought a nice house for, and for what? To be a government servant? I heard recently, but haven't yet verified, that under the student loan takeover in the healthcare bill, students who take out loans for med school (which is all of them) will be required to serve a certain number of years in a government determined location prior to entering private practice, etc. Kind of like military service. When you combine that obligation with the ongoing daily doctor vs. Medicare/Medicaid hassle about reimbursement and trial lawyers controlling how you practice, other majors and fields start looking pretty enticing to undecided students, thus furthering doctor shortage.

    The other concern with the student loan takeover will be when the doctor shortage truly hits and Americans start getting angry. At that point the government will probably have to start controlling med school more closely--letting more people in (especially poor minorities who have come from failing public school systems to "promote diversity and non-discrimination"), easier admission and graduation requirements, hastened graduation, lesser residency requirements, etc. This is where we'll start seeing a serious decline in healthcare quality.

    At least when France set up their system, they had the foresight to establish some basic methods to handle the changes. Apparently Obama can't even implement socialism correctly.