House Democrat Pushes Bill for 15k More Medicare-Supported Residencies

Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) is pushing legislation that would increase the number of Medicare-supported residencies by 15,000 over the next five years — expanding a cap that has not been touched in 15 years.

A 1997 federal law froze the number of Medicare-supported residency positions based on the number of residents each hospital trained in 1996, and Rep. Crowley said it's time to modify the "outdated" regulation. The increase would result in a total of roughly 102,000 Medicare-supported residencies and is designed to strengthen teaching hospitals, which Rep. Crowley considers "engines of economic growth."

The Association of American Medical Colleges has estimated a nationwide shortage of more than 91,000 physicians by 2020. Specifically, that breaks down to a deficiency of 45,000 primary care physicians and 46,000 specialists.

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