In the past America has faced oil shortages and food shortages, but it is now facing a major doctor shortage. Experts are predicting that the country will be short 90,000 physicians by the year 2025, which means changes must be made now to fix that problem for the future.
Why a Doctor Shortage?
There are a few factors contributing to this growing shortage. First, baby boomers are now entering old age and struggling with chronic diseases that require extra medical care. The Affordable Care Act has also had minor impacts on doctor demand since more citizens are now insured to access physician care. Americans are living longer but struggling with more diseases than in the past, which is a recipe for high doctor demand.
Where is the Need?
By the year 2025, it is predicted that specialists and surgeons needed to treat dangerous diseases like cancer will suffer the most intense shortages. But regular physicians will be in high demand too. Already, in cities around the country, it can take anywhere from 7 to 66 days to see a primary care doctor for an existing issue.
Is There a Solution?
Yes, but it’s a multi-pronged approach that must be handled purposefully. The Association of American Medical Colleges has requested that Congress raise the federal cap so that 3,000 more medical residents can be accepted into teaching hospitals annually. This change could allow 30,000 more doctors to be trained by 2025, thus significantly reducing the shortage crisis.
Federal government programs are also incentivizing doctors to practice in rural and low-income areas by helping those doctors pay off their medical school debts. This is an effort to prevent high quality doctors from congregating in wealthy cities and ignoring the areas of the country in dire need of reliable medical care.
For anybody considering entering the medical profession, now is definitely the time to jump in and help save our country from this impending emergency!