Posted By RichC on March 14, 2013
Shocking! [sarcasm] Hospitals need more taxpayer dollars to add residency spots in order to train the additional number of doctors the U.S. needs for Obamacare. So … more taxes or more borrowing? Socialized medicine *(lite -current plan – or full bore – where we are headed)* is not going to be cheap or offer a higher quality of care. Either get use to it, modify it or repeal the federal government’s over-reach.
U.S. medical schools are expanding to meet an expected need for more doctors due to the federal health law. With at least 12 new schools opening and existing ones growing, enrollment is on track to produce 5,000 more graduates a year by 2019.
But medical educators are cautioning that those efforts won’t do anything to alleviate a doctor shortage unless the number of medical residency positions rises as well. The number of federally funded residencies has been frozen since 1997.
Residencies are the three to seven years of on-the-job training in the U.S. that medical-school graduates must complete before they can practice independently in this country. Medicare funds most of the residencies, paying $9.5 billion a year to subsidize 94,000 positions at teaching hospitals. Medicaid and other sources such as hospitals fund about 10,000 more.
Medicare-funded spots were frozen under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, and numerous bills to lift the cap have stagnated in Congress amid budget-cutting concerns, including proposals to slash Medicare funding for doctor training.
On Thursday, Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D., Pa.) and Aaron Schock (R., Ill.) plan to reintroduce a bill seeking 15,000 more U.S.-funded residencies over the next five years, at a cost of about $1 billion a year—a measure likely to face an uphill climb. “This has to be part of the conversation,” Ms. Schwartz said.
The American Medical Association and other physician groups arguing for the increase say health-care needs have changed markedly since 1997. For one thing, the U.S. population has grown by 50 million people.