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 More Seniors, But Perhaps Fewer Doctors

August 21, 2019

Ideally, the ranks of primary care physicians and specialists would expand to meet the demands posed by retiring baby boomers on the health care system. In reality, things are quite the opposite: America is staring at an oncoming doctor shortage.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), there could be between 47,000-122,000 fewer doctors in the U.S. by the year 2032. One of the biggest problems is that doctors are growing older, themselves: a third of all currently licensed U.S. physicians are set to celebrate their 65th birthdays during the 2020s. It should be noted, however, that the number of physician assistants (PAs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) is forecast to keep growing. The communities hit hardest by this shortage will likely be rural, with a history of being underserved by health care providers. A new bill, H.R. 1763, has been introduced in Congress to try and boost Medicare funding, so that 3,000 new residency positions may be added annually at teaching hospitals during 2020 to 2024.2