Why Isn’t the Country Getting the Physicians We Need?
Tradeoffs podcast examines the way federal funding formulas influence where new doctors choose to work
Every year on the third Friday in March, tens of thousands of graduating medical students find out where they will continue their training by working as medical residents. The US spends close to $20 billion each year to fund those residencies, with 20% of that money going to programs in New York State alone. But now, as the coronavirus pandemic underscores the importance of a physician workforce that can deliver health care services, why isn’t the country getting the doctors we need?
The inability of states to produce the physician workforces they need can lead to delays in routine care, especially in rural and underserved communities, as well as long wait times for specialists. Research shows, for instance, that people who live in rural areas die younger from heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
Anupam Jena, MD, PhD, associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School
Dan Gorenstein, Health care journalist and executive producer of Tradeoffs
Candice Chen, MD, MPH, associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at George Washington University
Ted Epperly, MD, president and CEO of the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho
Atul Grover, MD, PhD, executive vice president of the Association of American Medical Colleges
The California Health Care Foundation is a cofunder of Tradeoffs.