The United States is experiencing a physician shortage that is even more dire in rural areas. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that today there is a shortage of from 44,000 doctors to perhaps as high as 67,000 physicians. By 2034 the shortage is expected to range from 37,800 physicians to as much as 124,000 physicians. The supply of physicians is a function of those entering the profession, those in the profession, minus those retiring or slowing down. Keep in mind the youngest physicians entering the field are usually 30 years old or more. Thus, there is only a 30-year window for them to establish a practice before reaching retirement age. A significant proportion of licensed physicians (45%) are over age 55. Many are part of the Baby Boomer generation who will be retiring soon and become patients themselves rather than treating patients.
Have you ever noticed that liberal news outlets can trip over the facts and fail to see their relevance? Even in the rare event they stumble onto relevant facts they draw the wrong conclusions. CNBC just discovered (nearly 60 years after economists warned of the danger) that health insurance may have resulted in higher heath care prices. In the article, “How health insurance may have made health care more expensive,” the reporter quotes a variety of health policy analysts. Dr. Kongstvedt, an expert she interviewed, gave her all the information she needs to know.
A new drug by Eli Lilly is poised to become the biggest selling drug of all time. However, a writer at NBC News is worried about whether Americans can afford it. The drug tirzepatide has completed its final stages of testing and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is likely to approve it for weight loss in 2023. Tirzepatide is the third drug from a new class of diabetes drugs called GLP-1 agonists, which includes the drugs Wegovy and Saxenda.
As of January 1st insurers and health plans are required to provide online tools to help enrollees estimate the cost of common medical services and procedures. As an aside, a future iteration of the law should also discourage medical professionals who work in hospitals or large practices controlled by private equity from only referring inside their systems without giving patients an opportunity to use the tools to shop elsewhere. I’ve never had a problem with doctors steering me to hospital-based services. Yet, I’ve heard horror stories about doctors being compensated or punish based on so-called keepage and leakage. This from Kaiser Health News: