In case you missed it, a recent study commissioned by the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that by 2025, the U.S. will face a shortage of 61,700-94,700 physicians.
It’s not entirely surprising — the cost of education has been steadily rising anyway and the cost of medical degrees, even more so. Teens just finishing high school are thinking twice before embarking on the expensive eight-year journey necessary to practice medicine.
Of course it’s not just that there are fewer doctors — it’s also that there are more patients, since the aging Baby Boomer population has put a strain on the medical profession’s ability to handle the load.
The combined weight of the patient boom plus the doctor shortage has already started to become a problem and, the study concludes, will just keep getting worse.
So what’s to be done? Not surprisingly, the Association of American Medical Colleges, which funded the study, wants Congress to approve more federal funding for residency programs. It’s not an easy problem and whatever happens in the November election, it’s unlikely that Congress will direct a significant amount of money to fix it.
Until something changes for the better, the only answer may be for Americans to live by the “apple-a-day” adage to lighten the load on the healthcare system.