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U.S. Physician Shortage May Worsen Following Healthcare Overhaul

March 31, 2010 by  

U.S. physician shortage may worsen following healthcare overhaulAlthough democrats claim healthcare reform will provide millions of Americans with medical insurance, there is no guarantee that there will be enough doctors to treat the sudden influx of new patients.

Over the past decade the United States has seen the number of students training to become primary care physicians and registered nurses dwindle rapidly, and the recently passed healthcare bill is bound to only exacerbate the issue.

According to the Associated Press (AP), several recently published reports have predicted a shortfall of approximately 400,000 primary care physicians over the next 10 years due to other career paths and medical specialties having better pay, improved hours and a higher profile.

"I think you have a real supply issue," said Fred Earley, the president of Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield, quoted by the Charleston Daily Mail.

"I think we have a real concern over whether we have the number of physicians or primary care providers to provide the care for all these additional people that are going to be accessing the health care system," he added.

The federal government has estimated that 65 million people currently reside in areas that are experiencing a shortage of local doctors. In Massachusetts alone, approximately 40 percent of family and general practitioners are not accepting new patients, a record number for the state that is only expected to increase over the next few years.

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