Healthcare deficiencies in the United States have long been perpetuated by a shortage of primary care providers. A core purpose of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is to provide health insurance for America’s approximately fifty million uninsured. Implementation of universal health insurance, however, does not mean sufficient healthcare access for all, since the supply of physicians does not and will not meet demand. For reasons reviewed in this Article, the current physician shortage mainly impacts primary care providers. This shortage is particularly troubling because increased provision of primary care relative to specialty care has been associated with improvement in health outcomes, disease prevention, cost effectiveness, and coordination of care. This Article highlights provisions in the PPACA that impact primary care physicians. Finally, this Article proposes the creation of a universal primary care loan repayment program and a national residency exchange designed to alleviate the U.S. primary care crisis by facilitating optimal distribution of resident physicians in each medical specialty based on community need.
- Affordable Care Act,
- primary care
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