Magazine February 22, 2010, Issue

Docs and Doctorates

(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Health care would be more accessible if you didn’t need an M.D. to perform a colonoscopy

A report from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) lists 29 state studies that warn of looming physician shortages. Twenty-one specialty-specific studies and at least six national reports characterize the situation as critical.

The most recent comparable physician shortage occurred more than 40 years ago, when Medicare and Medicaid were introduced. At that time, the increased demand for physicians’ services was met in part by changes in immigration law: In the 1970s, more than 40 percent of newly licensed physicians in the U.S. were trained overseas. At the same time, the output of domestic medical schools grew substantially, and together …

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