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Primary care doctors will be needed more than ever

Posted On Mon, March 29, 2010

The passage of the health care overhaul bill will likely strain the shortage of primary care doctors in the U.S.

Primary care physicians already are in short supply in parts of the country, the Associated Press reports, and the health care overhaul will bring them millions more newly insured patients in the next few years. Current estimates are that 32 million Americans are currently uninsured.

The Massachusetts Medical Society's 2009 annual Physician Workforce Study found the primary care specialties of family medicine and internal medicine are in short supply for the fourth consecutive year and the percentage of primary care practices closed to new patients is the highest it’s ever been as recorded by the Medical Society.

Experts predict a shortfall of roughly 40,000 primary care doctors over the next decade, as physicians are increasingly drawn to the better pay, better hours and higher profile of many other specialties, the AP reports. “Primary care physicians are grossly underpaid compared with many specialists,” Montana Senator Max Baucus told the New York Times.

Provisions in the new law are aimed at easing the strain, including bonus payments for certain physicians and expansion of community health centers.ADNFCR-2297-ID-19695395-ADNFCR

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