The growing ranks of older U.S. citizens and the Affordable Care Act (APA, or “Obamacare”) add up to a need for more and more physicians as time goes by, but a new study says the number of qualified physicians is not keeping pace. The research from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) points to shortages among specialties, in particular. The portion of the U.S. population over the age of 65 is expected to grow between 40% and 45% within the next 10 years, and the ACA has led to more American seeking physician care. Medical schools are on pace to increase their enrollment by 26%. AAMC has called on Congress to increase federal funding for physician training. The association’s study predicts that shortfalls could reach 35,600 for primary care physicians and 60,300 for nonprimary care specialties. If that means even longer waits to see a PCP or specialist, urgent care could become an even more attractive option for patients who don’t want to—or feel they can’t—wait until an appointment can be had.
Study Sees More Patients, Fewer Doctors Ahead