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Monday, January 14, 2013

Doctor Shortage

The number of US medical students has increased sharply in the past few years, and by 2016 there will be more medical student graduates than there are US residency training positions. The number of residency spots will be dropping beginning in 2013, because resident funding is in part from Medicare, in part by the hospitals providing the training. Hospitals are experiencing dramatic cuts from Medicare as required by Obamacare, and are looking to cut optional expenses - including residency and fellowship positions. Obviously this will lead to worsening doctor shortages.

A few years ago, the lawyers in Congress concluded that we need only increase medical student numbers to get more doctors. Wrong. It is required by law to complete a residency training program in order to practice medicine. The number of residency spots filled each year is about as many as there are total, because foreign graduates fill spots not filled by American doctors.

In conclusion, Congress is dumb. We'll have no more doctors than before. Here they've fostered a group of students with enormous student debt with no job at the end of it.

If you know anyone considering medicine as a career, urge them to get a PA or nursing degree over an MD or DO. This is not the time.

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