Regarding the article Millions are medically disenfranchised: report:
The increase in Americans who face challenges in accessing healthcare is in part due to the decline in practicing primary-care physicians and to broader physician shortages nationwide. The government predicts a shortage of at least 85,000 physicians by 2020. With the growing U.S. population and aging baby boomers, this shortage is one our nation cannot ignore if we want adequate access to health care.
Reports of physician shortages have already surfaced in about half the states, but the trend can be reversed. To attract more medical students, the federal government needs to help finance a debt burden that averages $140,000 upon graduation and create more residency positions to train new physicians.
We also need to place a higher value on the important services provided by primary-care physicians. To keep practicing physicians in the office, we need permanent Medicare payment reforms and managed-care reforms to help preserve the patient-physician relationship.
J. James Rohack, M.D.President-electAmerican Medical Association