Medical News and Perspectives
March 14, 2007

Looming Shortage of Physicians Raises Concerns About Access to Care

JAMA. 2007;297(10):1045-1046. doi:10.1001/jama.297.10.1045

About a decade ago, the powers-that-be proclaimed an emerging physician surplus in the United States and called for a capping of residency slots for the training of future physicians. In 2001, the consensus emerged that physician supply was in equilibrium. Today, the conventional wisdom is that a shortage looms, raising questions about the medical community's ability to provide care to an aging population that is living longer and living with chronic conditions.

“We're dealing with an overall physician shortage of 10% today, but we're going to go to 20% in just a few years,” said Richard Cooper, MD, a professor of medicine and a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. “We fought the war of surpluses, but it was the wrong war.”

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