ACA Brief: Looming Primary Care Shortage

Nationwide, we're experiencing a shortage of primary care physicians

BHM Edit Staff | Thursday, July 18, 2013
The nation is facing a primary care shortage.

In 2014, when insurance coverage expands under the Affordable Care Act, roughly 51 million people in this country will live in areas with a primary care shortage. A study published in the journal Health Affairs says 7 million Americans will be in the hardest hit areas.

The following states are expected to see the greatest demand for primary care physicians:

  • Texas
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • Idaho
  • Oklahoma

Currently, 56 percent of patient visits are primary care, but only 37 percent of physicians practice primary care medicine. The number of medical school graduates who go into family medicine is a dismal 8 percent. Most expected to suffer from this shortage: people without insurance, members of racial and ethnic minority groups, those in a low-income bracket, and those who live in rural or inner-city areas. It is estimated the United States will need to add 7,200 primary care providers—or to make better use of community health centers and nurse practitioners—to handle the increased demand for primary care services.