While this article may zero in on a worse-case scenario in terms of physician shortages, policymakers should keep their powder dry and resist the temptation to throw money at a “solution.”
Why? Because we do not have enough.
Medicare as we know it, is not sustainable at our current cost levels. As 78 million more Americans stream into the program, and with fewer people paying into the fund to support baby boomer benefits, we are looking at catastrophic deficits, even if we drastically cut spending for defense, homeland security, education, corporate subsidies, etc. etc. So, paying physicians more, while hospitals take major reimbursement hits, is not the answer.
There is an answer. But we have not found it, other than the short-term solution of cutting payments.
If the U.S. Lacks Doctors, Can Nurses, Optometrists, and Pharmacists Take Their Place?
HealthLeaders Media, April 26, 2010
If the Association of American Medical Colleges‘ prediction comes true— that the nation’s physician shortage will grow from about 25,000 today to about 150,000 in 15 years—who will treat the millions more people who will have health coverage for the first time under health reform?
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