A new emergency has come to light on the healthcare front: an impending shortage of physicians. The Council on Graduate Medical Education (GME) warns that the number of people needing medical care continues to rise while the number of doctors continues to decline. Without action, the nation will soon face a shortage of physicians.

This week I introduced two bipartisan bills aimed at helping to restore the physician workforce. After all, what’s the point of all the stress we’ve been going through in Congress to reform the healthcare system if there won’t be enough doctors to go around by the time we’re done? Congress continues to put a great deal of effort into fixing America’s healthcare, but the best solution will be one that covers all the bases rather than applying spot treatment.

The Physician Workforce and Graduate Medical Education Enhancement Act, HR 914, targets the weakest spots of the medical workforce: specializations like emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics, as well as rural health programs for small and developing communities. The bill would help small hospitals that serve rural or growing areas by providing them with interest-free loans to establish a residency training program for high need medical specialties.

The Preventive Medicine and Public Health Training Act, HR 916, promotes a preventive-minded public health system, authorizing $43 million in training grants to public health teaching institutions for the purpose of shoring up our preventive medicine physician workforce.