The Association of American Medical Colleges says the country could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, if the graduation and training rates remain the same, The Wall Street Journal reported.
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. currently has 352,908 primary-care doctors, and 45,000 more will be needed by 2020, according to the guidelines of the college association. However, the number of medical-school students studying family medicine decreased more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007.
A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could lead to more limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients.
The new health care law attempts to address the physician shortage by encouraging people to pursue medical professions and offering a 10% Medicare pay boost for primary-care doctors.
Read more in The Wall Street Journal...
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