Inland Empire faces doctor draught; future no brighter

Those who either are or are not in favor of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law will find that, regardless of its impact, there will be an inevitable shortage of doctors and surgeons to accommodate the population by 2014.

A recent article in the New York Times, written by Annie Lowrey and Robert Pear on July 28, states that Obama’s healthcare law is “expected to extend insurance coverage to more than 300,000 people by 2014.”

While this is being implemented for the good of those who are not yet covered by insurance in the United States, regions around the country, especially the Inland Empire, will suffer because of an extreme low supply of doctors throughout the state.

“In the Inland Empire, encompassing the counties of Riverside and San Bernadino, the shortage of doctors is already severe,” Lowrey and Pear wrote in their article.

While the number of Americans needing care, as well as the ones who will soon be covered by Obama’s new healthcare law, is increasing, the number of doctors is only “lagging.”

According to Lowrey and Pear, there is simply not as much of an attraction to the Inland Empire among doctors, as better pay and living can be found in neighboring areas such as Los Angeles and Orange County.

“In Riverside, it has left residents driving long distances to doctors, languishing on waiting lists, overusing emergency rooms and even forgoing care,” Lowrey and Pear wrote.

It typically takes 10 years to train a student to become a doctor. While recently there has been an incline in medical students, it is not enough to assist the boom in medical residents as soon as 2014.

“The Obama administration has sought to ease the shortage,” Lowrey and Pear said.

According to this article, the new healthcare law will increase Medicaid’s “primary care payment rates in 2013 and 2014.”

The new law will also seek to use more funds to train primary care physicians, as well as provide compensation for those who decide to practice in underprivileged communities where they are in high demand.

According to the New York Times article, the U.C. Riverside Medical School is planning on taking new students in the fall of 2013. Also, they plan on having “a number of policies to encourage its graduates to stay in the area and practice primary care.”

For more information on this issue and the new Healthcare law, visit www. nytimes.com/health.

About Renee Flannery

Staff Writer

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