According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the recent changes in health care legislation passed by Congress will lead to a shortage of 150,000 doctors over the next 15 years. Most of the additional doctors will be primary care physicians needed by people who previously did not have health insurance. Medical schools are struggling to increase their enrollment in order to meet this growing demand. In fact, several new medical schools and branches of existing medical schools are opening as a response.
Supply and demand says this should push salaries higher and the article does mention organizations using pay increases as an incentive. Unfortunately, this lack of supply means doctors might have longer working hours and patients might see longer wait times as well.
While the article only talks about doctors, it’s likely this shortage will fuel higher demand for closely related fields such as physician assistants. A physician assistant helps reduce the workload of doctors and surgeons by diagnosing problems, performing common procedures, and, at times, actually providing primary care. Although it was already an extremely high growth field, it’s reasonable to think the United States will need even more physician assistants now.
This is obviously good news for anyone considering either career. Salaries and the number of expected job openings aren’t the only reasons to begin a career in health care of course. But if you have a desire to help others and aptitude complete the necessary training, now is a great time to start down the path to a medical career.
Source: Wall Street Journal