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Proposed budget could worsen PCP shortage

Article

As if your waiting room isn't crowded enough already, a new study predicts that the shortage of primary care physicians (PCP) could be made even worse by President Barack Obama's proposed budget.

As if your waiting room isn't crowded enough already, a new study predicts that the shortage of primary care physicians (PCPs) could be made even worse by President Barack Obama's proposed budget. Moreover, the increased shortage could be caused by the same measure that will cause an increase in demand for the services of PCPs.

In its fiscal 2013 budget proposal, the administration proposes saving $9.7 billion over 9 years by reducing what Medicare pays to train new doctors. The savings would help fund the expansion of healthcare coverage to as many as 32 million people who are uninsured now.

A Bloomberg Government study predicts that the cuts would cause hospitals to adjust their mix of residency slots to focus on the most profitable specialties. That would reduce in turn the number of PCPs, who will be in greatest demand under healthcare reform.

Medicare provided about $9.5 billion to hospitals in 2010 to offset the costs associated with sponsoring residency programs in which graduate students train before going into practice for themselves.

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