Obamacare calls for nearly $1 trillion in healthcare reforms designed to boost the quality of care in the U.S. and shrink the ranks of the nation’s uninsured, under-insured, and previously uninsurable residents.
But the Affordable Care Act does little to address a deeper problem confronting the U.S. healthcare system that threatens to undermine those goals: A looming doctor shortage that is already hitting patients in many regions of the country.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the nation is facing a serious shortfall of primary care doctors and will be 91,500 physicians short of what it needs by 2020. That deficit could hit 130,600 by 2025, in part because Obamacare will hike the number of insured Americans seeking care and many doctors are nearing retirement age, getting into concierge medicine, or leaving the profession.
As a result of those colliding trend lines, the physician shortage has reached a crisis point and will only get worse in the years to come, many health experts believe.
David Brownstein, M.D., a board-certified family physician and medical director for the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., tells Newsmax TV the doctor shortage parallels the recent problems plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA facilities have come under fire for forcing hundreds of veterans to wait long periods for adequate care — some of whom died before they could see a doctor.