House Dem floats bill to ward off doctor shortage

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"We face a cruel irony: retiring baby boomers and the newly-insured, now covered through the Affordable Care Act, will be accessing our health care system in greater numbers, but we won’t have nearly enough doctors on-the-ready to deliver the healthcare services they’ll need," the Queens-based representative said in a statement. "A doctor shortage is something we just can't ignore."

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has estimated that the United States will be short more than 91,000 doctors by 2020 — 45,000 in primary care and 46,000 in surgery and medical specialties — as more Americans age.

The passage of the Affordable Care Act has also prompted worries that the newly insured will overwhelm the U.S. healthcare system.

Crowley said his bill would not only train more doctors but also strengthen teaching hospitals, which he called "engines of economic growth."

"Teaching hospitals have taken on a great deal of responsibility, but they need the support of Congress and adequate federal funding to continue," Crowley said. "This is a nationwide problem and the path to ensuring all Americans have access to high-quality, well-trained physicians is through the strengthening of [Medicare graduate medical education] programs."

The AAMC said this summer that 18 medical schools are now under development — growth that hasn't been seen in decades.