KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Physician Shortage Expected To Deepen With Health Overhaul

There is only one primary care doctor per 2,000 patients in certain parts of the country, which the government calls "health professional shortage areas," according to Medill Reports. "Health professionals worry there will be an even greater shortage after 2014 when about 32 million more people are insured, as mandated by the health care reform law and as the baby boomer generation becomes Medicare-aged" (Adorka, 4/13). 

The Associated Press: Twenty-eight states are considering changing rules to allow nurse practitioners to practice independently as a means of combating the shortage of physicians. The 32 million expected "newly insured patients will be looking for doctors and may find nurses instead." But, the "medical establishment is fighting to protect turf. … The American Medical Association, which supported the national health care overhaul, says a doctor shortage is no reason to put nurses in charge and endanger patients." Nurses argue that criticism is unfounded – plus, they charge less (Johnson, 4/13).

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