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States take on strategies to address primary care physician shortage

USA Today, August 16, 2010

 

About 65 million Americans live in communities with a shortage of primary care doctors, physicians trained to meet the majority of patients' health care needs over the course of their lives. How much more difficult will finding a primary care doctor become as a result of the recently passed health care reform legislation, which will extend coverage to an estimated 34 million currently uninsured Americans by 2019? Massachusetts, which in 2006 passed a law that led to nearly universal coverage of its 6.6 million residents, might provide some clues. In that state, fewer and fewer internists and family practice doctors are taking new patients, and wait times to see family practice doctors are lengthening, according to the Massachusetts Medical Society and the non-profit Massachusetts Health Quality Partners.