This disease can be traced back to 1997, when Congress, anticipating a doctor surplus, included a section in its budget-balancing law that froze the number of Medicare-sponsored residency positions.Ah, the joys of government interfering in the market.
But instead of a surplus, a shortage soon developed, and has worsened over the years, now reaching epidemic proportions. The Association of American Medical Colleges Center for Workforce Studies just reported an anticipated shortage of 90,000 doctors of all kinds over the next decade, with half of them being primary care physicians and the other half surgeons and specialists.
Just when we have increasing numbers of aging Americans, more government actions are decreasing our numbers of doctors.
According to a recent national survey, less than half of the nation's doctors are seeing new Medicaid patients. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recently reported that 28% of patients seeking a new Medicare provider were unable to find one. This problem will only get worse as the new Independent Medicare Advisory Panel decides which services are beneficial and which aren't, tying the treating hands of doctors who are still trying to work with Medicare.We're going to need more and more doctors, people who have had the specialist training to deal with all the modern medical technology and treatments being developed, yet government actions are adding to a looming shortage, just when ObamaCare's provisions will increase the demand for medical care. And the market won't be able to right itself because the government has done too much to interfere with the normal movement of the marketplace.