Seven Million Americans Live In Areas Where Demand For Primary Care May Exceed Supply By More Than 10 Percent

Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, in Illinois.
Health Affairs (Impact Factor: 4.97). 02/2013; 32(3). DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2012.0913


The Affordable Care Act’s expansion of insurance coverage is expected to increase demand for primary care services. We estimate that the national increase in demand for such services will require 7,200 additional primary care providers, or 2.5 percent of the current supply. On average, that increased demand is unlikely to prove disruptive. But when we examined how this increased demand will be experienced in different areas of the country, we found considerable variability: Seven million people live in areas where the expected increase in demand for providers is greater than 10 percent of baseline supply, and forty-four million people live in areas with an expected increase in demand above 5 percent of baseline supply. These findings highlight the need to promote policies that encourage more primary care providers and community health centers to practice in areas with the greatest expected need for services.

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    • "On the other hand, the combined effects of these provisions are somewhat ambiguous. One reason is that if primary care physicians are already working near capacity, as some observers maintain (Mitka 2007; Hofer et al. 2011; Huang and Finegold 2013), then there simply may not be enough capacity for both effects to occur. Another is that while Medicaid Parity is sure to raise the expected profitability Medicaid patients, it is unclear how their profitability compares to the expected profitability of Medicare patients. "
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    • "ElectronicallyConcerns about a national shortage of primary care physicians have been raised in both the academic literature11121314and in the popular press[15,16]. Between 1991 and 2010, however, North Carolina's primary care physician workforce grew at a rate of 42%, compared with a growth rate of only 35% for the state's physician workforce as a whole. "

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    • "In addition, high uninsurance and poverty rates can reduce patient demand as these potential patients are more likely to go without care because of financial constraints (Burman, Mawhorter, & Vanden Heede, 2006). Indeed it is precisely these areas that are predicted to require the greatest increase in primary care providers to meet the new demand brought about by the ACA (Huang & Finegold, 2013). High percentages of people older than 65 are thought to increase demand because of their high use rates and access to Medicare. "
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