Primary care shortages are worsening around the country. Arkansas needs about 1,000 primary care physicians right now. In upstate New York, a third of hospitals have curtailed some services because of the shortage, forcing them to transfer patients to other facilities or hire temporary physicians. Rural areas of California are seeing a graying of their physician population, with 30% older than 60, and younger doctors aren't taking their place.
Primary care physicians in each community note that more patients defer care, seek it out in emergency rooms or travel hours to get what they need. And despite dedicated rural recruitment programs, or in some cases just a dedicated resident trying to recruit more peers, these areas will continue to experience a shortage. (Today's THV, [Syracuse] Post-Standard, San Francisco Chronicle, California HealthLine)
Health care reform
Debate to repeal health care reform will begin Tuesday in the U.S. House, testing how well Republicans can gain momentum in the wake of the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
All eyes will be on the tone of the debate. Health care debates have been particularly violent, and the bill will keep its name of "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act." The plan is to try to keep debate focused on the law's impact, so expect message discipline to be strictly focused on the law's effects on jobs and the economy. (Washington Post, Politico, New York Times, Wall Street Journal.)