An Illinois congressman is concerned about having enough doctors. U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) has introduced a bill to increase the number of graduate medical education slots by 15,000 over the next five years. These are the slots where medical school graduates perform residency. The number hasn’t increased since 1997.
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Schock says the doctors are needed. “Part of that is, the good news is people are living longer. More people are having access to health care. Every day, 10,000 Americans become senior citizens, and roll onto programs like Medicare, and that number is set to stay constant or grow in the next 20 years,” he said today (Friday) in a conference call with reporters. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015, the country will have 68,900 fewer doctors than needed. That number might be 130,000 by 2025.
The Training Tomorrow’s Doctors Today Act is sponsored by Schock and Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.). Schock says he is lining up supporters and co-sponsors, hoping to get the measure included as an amendment on any Medicare package that moves in Congress. There is a cost to this: $2 billion over 10 years, with no specific funding mechanism.