December 7, 2009
On behalf of the nation's 131 medical schools and nearly 400 teaching hospitals, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) strongly urges you to cosponsor SA 2909, a health care reform amendment that will address the currently growing physician shortage. Without it, there will not be enough physicians to care for newly insured individuals. Additionally, the nation's medical schools and teaching hospitals signed a July 2 letter to Senate Finance Chairman, Max Baucus (D-MT), urging the expansion of Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) training slots.
Filed December 4 by Majority Leader Reid (D-NV), along with Sens. Nelson (D-FL), Schumer (D-NY), Kerry (D-MA), Stabenow (D-MI), and Leahy (D-VT), SA 2909 will assure an adequate supply of physicians for our aging population, as well as the millions of Americans who will gain health care access under the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." It will do so by expanding Medicare's support for GME. The amendment adds 15,000 new training slots, which would produce 40,000 new doctors over the next 10 years.
Why is this amendment so important?
Even without health care reform, the nation faces a shortage of at least 125,000 physicians by 2025. Expanded access under health care reform will increase that shortage by as much as 25 percent. Since it takes as many as 10 years to educate and train a doctor, we must act now to assure an adequate supply of physicians in the future. Mounting evidence indicates a shortage among both primary care and many specialties. Over one-third of our physicians are over age 55 and are likely to retire within the next two decades. As the nation ages and develops complex and multiple illnesses, the demand for physician services will grow.
Please cosponsor SA 2909 to assure physician access for all Americans now and in the future.
I just sent my own letter to my own senators (Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein) a few minutes ago. Senator Boxer's mailbox was full and I'll try to resend later. Senator Feinstein had an online form I just filled out with the same information.
Here's a copy of my short letter:
My name is Jonathan ******** and I'll begin my first year of medical school at Ross University in two weeks time. Please support the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (SA 2909). The shortage of primary care physicians is well known, but as a student -- especially as an off-shore medical student -- the shortage of residency positions that are available is equally troubling. As a student, it's almost sad to think that there may not be enough positions at teaching hospitals to train me once I graduate four years from now. There is little point in the extensive education process for myself as a future physician if I'll never have the opportunity to practice what I'll be learning. My goal is to specialize in Emergency Medicine and practice back here in California.
I suggest you do the same. You can find your senator's contact information HERE.