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August 8, 1990

No Evidence of an Emerging Physician Surplus

Author Affiliations

Tufts University School of Medicine Boston, Mass

Tufts University School of Medicine Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1990;264(6):691. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450060037011

To the Editor.—  In a recent article,1 we analyzed data on changes in physicians' work load and income during the 1980s and concluded that the demand for physicians' services has equaled or exceeded the growth in physician supply. These findings run directly counter to the projections made by the Graduate Medical Education National Advisory Committee (GMENAC) that we would face a large physician surplus by 1990. In an editorial that accompanied our article, Dr Tarlov,2 who headed the GMENAC study, is sharply critical of our conclusions.Tarlov disputes our finding concerning the sharp rise in physician income on the grounds that survey data from the American Medical Association used in our study are not corroborated by a medical economics survey. He fails to point out, however, that we verified the American Medical Association findings with income tax data gathered by the Internal Revenue Service. The nearperfect agreement between