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The Primary Care Physician Shortage and the Affordable Care Act

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What is the Issue:

In the past few years there has been much debate over the Affordable Care Act and its effects on the healthcare industry in the United States. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) “Will ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care and will create the transformation within the health care system necessary to contain costs” (The patient protection and affordable care act detailed summary, n.a.). However, what these transformations are and how they will affect the healthcare system, specifically primary care physicians are uncertain. Primary care physicians are the cornerstones for patients in the health care system. They act as a liaison between families and specialist physicians. Primary care physicians provide a variety of patient care services that involve multiple skill sets. They are in charge of diagnosing the patient and managing the plan of care. As a result of the newly implemented Affordable Care Act and the current shortage of primary care physicians “The primary care doctor is a rapidly evolving species -- and in the future could become an endangered one” (Okie, 2012).

Before the ACA was implemented, there was already a shortage of primary care physicians. It is important to note that most Americans utilize or go to see a primary care physician. “An analysis of the projected supply and demand for physicians, conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration in 2008, foretells of a total shortage across the entire workforce. Particularly evident is the deficit projected in non-primary care subspecialties, with a shortage of 35,000 surgeons and 27,000 medical specialists by 2020” (AAMC, 2014). According to the National ambulatory Medical Care Survey (2010) 55.5% of do...

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National ambulatory medical care survey: 2010 Summary tables. (2010). In Centers for disease control and prevention. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from ttp://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ahcd/namcs_summary/2010_namcs_web_tables.pdf

Okie, S. (2012, May 17). The Evolving Primary Care Physician. In The New England Journal of Medicine. Retrieved February 10, 2014, from http://search.proquest.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/docview/1014419556/fulltextPDF?accountid=13158

The changing physicians environment. (2003, June). In Trend Watch. Retrieved February 10, 2014, from http://www.aha.org/research/reports/tw/tw2003vol5no1.pdf

The patient protection and affordable care act detailed summary. (n.d.). In Democratic policy and communication center. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://www.dpc.senate.gov/healthreformbill/healthbill04.pdf
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