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January 11, 1995

Forecasting Physician Workforce Requirements

Author Affiliations

Department of Public Policy Studies American Medical Association Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1995;273(2):111-112. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520260031016

To the Editor.  —In Dr Weiner's recent analysis of the effects of health system reform on future physician workforce requirements,1 he concluded that if there is universal insurance coverage and significant increases in managed care by the year 2000, there will be a surplus of 165000 patient-care physicians. However, Weiner's analysis does not indicate that there will be a physician surplus nearly as large in any case, regardless of whether any reform policies are implemented.A thorough examination2 of Weiner's assumptions and methods reveals that the growth of the physician population is the driving force behind the future physician surplus. This is not apparent in Weiner's analysis because he did not compare the results of his forecast for the reformed health care system with a baseline scenario that assumes the current health care delivery system remains at status quo—that is, with no change in insurance coverage or managed

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