Millions of Americans will get new health coverage under Obamacare, which means that millions of new patients will need doctors—specifically, primary care providers. According to the Washington Post, Obamacare will require almost 30,000 new primary care physicians by 2015.
Unfortunately, primary care is the road less traveled through medical school, less lucrative and prestigious than the alternatives. Young doctors who specialize can expect to earn $3.5 million more over a lifetime than their peers in primary care. While there are promising signs that some medical students are turning down that road despite more profitable alternatives, they number just a few.
It’s not just new doctors who have an economic incentive to eschew primary care. Specialists are more lucrative for hospitals too: “A radiologist will earn a hospital $193 in Medicare reimbursements every hour, a primary-care doctor brings in $101.”
It seems to us that this was a foreseeable hurdle for healthcare legislation. More patients require more doctors, obviously. It makes one wonder what other failures are baked in the cake of this hastily written, poorly reviewed bill that Congress passed without reading, much less reflecting on.