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Another Broken Promise: Fixing The Doctor Shortage

- June 20, 2013

Early In His Presidency, Obama Said He Would Fix The Doctor Shortage

In 2009, Obama Said "The Status Quo Is We Don't Have Enough Primary Care Physicians - We've Got No Incentive To Create More Primary Care Physicians." OBAMA: "Yes, but keep in mind, that the status quo is we don't have enough primary care physicians. We've got no incentive to create more primary care physicians. And those people who don't have access to primary care physicians are going to the emergency room where we're giving them the most expensive care and all of us are subsidizing that to the tune of about 900… So with the new insurance - keep in mind that we're going to be phasing this in. And what we want to do is to provide a powerful set of incentives for more and more young people who are interested in health care, interested in medicine, to go into primary care. Part of that may be adjusting the reimbursements, so that primary care physicians are getting a greater reimbursement and we're closing the gap between specialists and primary care physicians. Part of it may be how we finance medical education and saying to the young people who are going into medical school, 'If you are committed to primary care, we are going to pay your way.' And so, putting in a sizable chunk of money into making life better for primary care physicians, particularly those who are willing to serve in under-served areas, I think we can solve some of those problems." (ABC's "World News With Diane Sawyer," 7/15/09)

  • Obama Also Said We "Have Four Or Five Years To Start Developing Programs To Solve The Problem. "We're not going to solve all of them immediately overnight, and that's why I think we have to anticipate this program's not going to start up probably until 2013. That gives us four or five years to start developing programs to solve this problem." (ABC's " World News With Diane Sawyer," 7/15/09)

2013 Is Here And The Shortage Of Doctors Is Only Getting Worse Under ObamaCare

"A Shortage Of Primary Care Physicians … Is Expected To Worsen" In The Coming Years. "A shortage of primary care physicians in some parts of the country is expected to worsen as millions of newly insured Americans gain coverage under the federal health care law next year." (Ann Sanner, "Doctor Shortage Predicted Under ObamaCare," The Associated Press , 6/19/13)

  • "Doctors Could Face A Backlog, And Patients Could Find It Difficult To Get Quick Appointments." (Ann Sanner, "Doctor Shortage Predicted Under ObamaCare," The Associated Press , 6/19/13)

The Association Of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Projects A Shortage Of Nearly 33,000 Doctors In The Next Two Years. "About a quarter million primary care doctors work in America now, and the Association of American Medical Colleges projects the shortage will reach almost 30,000 in two years and will grow to about 66,000 in little more than a decade. In some cases, nurses and physician assistants help fill in the gap." (Ann Sanner, "Doctor Shortage Predicted Under ObamaCare," The Associated Press , 6/19/13)

ObamaCare Will Exacerbate The Doctor Shortage While Limiting Patient Access To Physician Care. "The problem will become more acute nationally when about 30 million uninsured people eventually gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which takes full effect next year." (Ann Sanner, "Doctor Shortage Predicted Under ObamaCare," The Associated Press , 6/19/13)

  • Dr. Andrew Morris-Singer, President And Co-Founder Of The Nonprofit Primary Care Progress: "If You Don't Have A Primary Care Provider … You Should Find One Soon." "Even so, many experts say the gap between doctors and those gaining care under the health reforms in many parts of the country will not close quickly. Access to care could get worse for some people before it gets better, said Dr. Andrew Morris-Singer, president and co-founder of Primary Care Progress, a nonprofit in Cambridge, Mass. 'If you don't have a primary care provider,' he said, "you should find one soon.'" (Ann Sanner, "Doctor Shortage Predicted Under ObamaCare," The Associated Press , 6/19/13)

The Scarcity Of Doctors Isn't News To Obama, But He Still Hasn't Fixed The Problem

New York Times Headline From Last Summer: "Doctor Shortage Likely To Worsen With Health Law." (Annie Lowrey and Robert Pear, "Doctor Shortage Likely to Worsen With Health Law," The New York Times, 7/28/12)

  • Estimates Have Shown That There Will Be A Shortage Of Nearly 63,000 Doctors In 2015, And Over 100,000 In 2025. "The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed. And that number will more than double by 2025, as the expansion of insurance coverage and the aging of baby boomers drive up demand for care. Even without the health care law, the shortfall of doctors in 2025 would still exceed 100,000." (Annie Lowrey and Robert Pear, "Doctor Shortage Likely to Worsen With Health Law," The New York Times, 7/28/12)

ObamaCare's Provisions Fall Way Short In Tackling The Doctor Shortage Problem. "The Obama administration has sought to ease the shortage. The health care law increases Medicaid's primary care payment rates in 2013 and 2014. It also includes money to train new primary care doctors, reward them for working in underserved communities and strengthen community health centers. But the provisions within the law are expected to increase the number of primary care doctors by perhaps 3,000 in the coming decade. Communities around the country need about 45,000." (Annie Lowrey and Robert Pear, "Doctor Shortage Likely to Worsen With Health Law," The New York Times, 7/28/12)


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