Experts Say It's Too Late to Solve Exacerbated Physician Shortage

Expanded insurance coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is expected to worsen the country's physician shortage, with roughly 130,000 fewer physicians than needed by 2025, and some experts say there's little room for that to change, according to a New York Times report.

The Association of American Medical Colleges predicted a shortage of 62,900 physicians in 2015, and that is expected to double by 2025 to 130,000 across all specialties.

The physician shortage would still be dire without the healthcare law with a gap of more than 100,000 providers, but a boost in insured patients and aging baby boomers are driving increased demand for care. There are other contributing factors to the shortage, such as population growth exceeding medical school enrollment, younger physicians working fewer hours, more physicians nearing retirement and many medical students finding the pay for primary care unattractive.

Health experts have said there is not much the government or medical profession can do to close the shortage by 2014, which is when insurance expansion to about 30 million Americans will go into effect. Experts describe the effects of the shortage as "invisible," meaning patients are still able to get care but it is often less timely and/or further away. In some instances, it may result in patients foregoing care or receiving it via emergency departments.

More Articles on Physician Shortages:

Physician Attrition in the Next 10 Years: 15 Findings
PPACA Upheld, But What About Physician Shortages?
Henry Ford CEO: Higher Pay Only Way to Attract More PCPs


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