“Doctor Shortage Proves Obstacle to Obama Goals: Primary Care Lacking”
The New York Times, April 27, 2009
As primary care physicians serve as the most essential source of healthcare in America, having a shortage has been the source of much distress for the Obama administration, and has further stimulated the need to advance a solution. Difficult as may be, there have thus far been several proposals in how to deal with this. One such proposal suggests boosting Medicare payments to general practitioners, coming at the expense of the higher-paid specialists who are not so fond of this suggestion. A second proposal has been to increase the number of doctors, which has its own disadvantage of simmering costs. Another proposal simply suggests an increase the enrollment in medical schools and residency programs, simultaneously encouraging an increase in nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Finally, an expansion of the National Health Service Corps—an organization that extends healthcare to rural, underdeveloped areas—was suggested as well. With diminishing income rates, primary care physicians are seeking to specialize in an effort to make ends meet, rendering a primary care doctor-to-population ratio that is so disproportionate it is worrisome. As the Obama administration is dispensing substantial amounts of money into community healthcare centers, a consensus as to how to cope with the prevalent need for primary care physicians is yet to be reached.
This report is evidence of the need for Senator Conrad’s recent proposed legislation expanding the Conrad 30 program.