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National Public Radio Hosts Series on Primary Care Dilemma

Author: Editor

National Public Radio (NPR) recently ran a 3-part series on the shortage of primary care doctors, especially as we get ready to enter the era of health care reform, which will stress an already-stressed system even more.

As the series intro states, a major reason (for the looming shortage) is the graying of the massive baby boom generation: By 2030, 70 million Americans — 1 of every 5 — will be over age 65. And seniors need and use more medical care. The new health law will also add to the demand for one-on-one care. By 2019, an estimated 32 million more Americans will have health insurance than have it now.

"When you survey medical students when they enter medical school, a very high percentage are interested in primary care," says Alain Montegut, vice president for primary care development at Martin's Point Health Care in Maine. "Then they lose that interest over that four years because they're not exposed to it. They don't have the role models, and the payment system is geared toward specialty care."

Nice to see (hear) that this all-too-familiar problem is getting some substantial air time.

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