Under the headline “Doctor shortage looms as primary care loses its pull”, USA Today reports:
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 AAFP is predicting a shortage of 40,000 family physicians in 2020, when the demand is expected to spike. The U.S. health care system has about 100,000 family physicians and will need 139,531 in 10 years. The current environment is attracting only half the number needed to meet the demand
At the heart of the rising demands on primary-care physicians will be the 78 million Baby Boomers born from 1946 to 1964, who begin to turn 65 in 2011 and will require increasing medical care, and the current group of underserved patients.
If Congress passes health care legislation that extends insurance coverage to a significant part of the 47 million Americans who lack insurance, the need for more doctors is going to escalate.
The USA Today is dead on. Obamacare will only make this nation’s already existing doctor shortage much, much worse:
First, Obama plans to pay for up to a third of his plan by cutting $313 billion in Medicare reimbursements to health care providers over the next 10 years. This will only force more doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients. Second, Obama’s public “option” could decrease the annual net income of hospitals by $36 billion, while the annual net income of physicians could drop by $33.1 billion. Facing a sharp reduction in their pay, more doctors will retire early and more bright students will elect to pursue other careers, thereby reducing access and ensuring lower quality health care for future generations as well.