Doctor Shortages Seen in 2015
The Association of American Medical Colleges, the trade association for our nation’s academic medical centers, has a new study stating that U.S. physician shortages in 2015 will be 50% worse than previously predicted because health reform will provide insurance coverage to 32 million more Americans.
I take this with a grain of salt, because the AAMC has been predicting physician shortages for the last 30 years. In fact, we are currently short of physicians, particularly in rural communities.
The new report seems to assume that the 32 million Americans who are projected to obtain health insurance under the new law will rush to see a physician for various illnesses they have been ignoring.
Two other factors cited by the AAMC are 1) a 36 percent growth in the number of Americans over age 65; 2) nearly one-third of all physicians are expected to retire in the next decade.
The AAMC’s solution is to have Congress support a 15 percent increase in residency training (adding 4,000 more new physicians per year). Given the current demands for cutting healthcare spending, this seems like a long shot.