The COVID pandemic of 2020 has highlighted a number of shortcomings associated with the health system in the United States. Granted there is no real way of being prepared for every emergency, and I find it understandable that some equipment and services were initially in short supply. One of the unfortunate issues that have acutely come to light is the shortage of physicians in the U.S. Although these numbers sound incredible high to me, projections by the Association of Medical Colleges project that by 2032 (which is just around the corner) the U.S. physician shortfall will be between 46,900 and 121,900 physicians. This degree of shortfall has been confirmed by other groups, and is a serious problem.
Many patients in our area now find it difficult to find a family physician and the outlook for specialty care is often equally frustrating. Physicians can only take on a finite number of patients in order to give adequate care. The problem is further compounded by the fact that the U.S. population will grow by slightly over 10% by 2033 to 361 million people. However, the under 18 population will only grow by 3.9%, but the 65 and older is expected to balloon by 45.1% during this same time. Lastly, physician age is a factor in this shortage since two in five currently active physicians will be 65 or older in the next ten years. Physician extenders can only fill in some of the gaps. For now, I am still working.