A decrease in new doctors could lead to increased health insurance rates down the road

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With healthcare costs varying wildly amid talks of reform and fallout from the current recession, a lack of doctors that could make it harder to regularly maintain ones health and cause an additional spike in rates may be another variable soon added to the mix as well.

With healthcare costs varying wildly amid talks of reform and fallout from the current recession, a lack of doctors that could make it harder to regularly maintain ones health and cause an additional spike in rates may be another variable soon added to the mix as well.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians AAFP), the number of students entering medical school for primary care has fallen off by 51.8 percent since 1997, USA recently reported. Because of that, they are predicting that by 2020 there may only be 100,000 family physicians while the health care system will require almost 140,000 to properly care for the public.

The increase in need will be driven by the 78 million "Baby Boomers" who will begin hitting retirement age in 2011 and face increasing medical issues and related costs.

"At the time we need family-care physicians the most, we are producing the least," said Ted Epperly, the AAFP's president." The nation's medical schools are failing to produce a workforce that is essential to caring for America's communities."

A separate survey conducted by USA Today in 2008 corroborates the AAFP's findings, as it found that only two percent of its 1,177 student respondents at 11 U.S. medical schools said they were planning to pursue a career in general internal medicine.

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Posted: August 20, 2009

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