Population Health to Prepare: & Essay

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The lack of available doctors in a given area may also be an issue. "The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed. And that number will more than double by 2025, as the expansion of insurance coverage and the aging of baby boomers drive up demand for care. Even without the health care law, the shortfall of doctors in 2025 would still exceed 100,000" (Lowrey & Pear 2912). It is recommended that an area have 60 to 80 primary care doctors per 100,000 residents, and 85 to 105 specialists while some areas have few as 40 primary care doctors and 70 specialists per 100,000 residents (Lowrey & Pear 2012). Rural areas, in particular, are underserved by physicians. These difficulties will worsen, as more persons have insurance and the influx of patients in the system grows. The aging of the population and the increase of patients with chronic lifestyle conditions like diabetes also will create barriers to access.

The shortage of primary care providers is a series subset of the issue of care access. Fewer and fewer physicians are willing to specialize in primary care. "Primary care doctors made about $200,000 a year. Specialists often made twice as much" (Lowrey & Pear 2012). Exorbitant medical school loans and a wide discrepancy in salaries have caused fewer and fewer doctors to select the field of primary care.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Essay on Population Health to Prepare: • Assignment

The ACA was an important step in encouraging more Americans to obtain health insurance, and ensuring that there are more venues through which citizens can obtain coverage, either through their parents in the case of young people or through Medicaid in the case of the working poor who may be working multiple part-time jobs and are not eligible for insurance. It also placed restrictions upon health insurance companies, prohibiting the wholesale discrimination against patients with preexisting conditions and laid the foundation for health insurance 'exchanges' for individuals to find affordable care. Beginning in 2014, these "exchanges are new organizations that will be set up to create a more organized and competitive market for buying health insurance. They will offer a choice of different health plans, certifying plans that participate and providing information to help consumers better understand their options" (What is a health insurance exchange, 2012, Kaiser Permanente).

However, expanding health insurance is only the first step of expanding access to care. The government must support the expansion of the number of primary care providers, particularly in chronically underserved areas, either through government support of the education of those entering into needed fields of medicine or loan forgiveness programs for physicians who forego high salaries in highly desirable areas (What is a health insurance exchange, 2012, Kaiser Permanente). Improving the rate of reimbursements is also vital for physicians who agree to take on low-income patients.

Access to healthcare is a multifaceted issue, and must be addressed on a population-by-population basis, as the reasons for impeded access may vary amongst different communities. But it is an issue that must be addressed, given the consequences of a lack of consistent, preventative care for society are much greater than the costs of expanded insurance coverage and care in the long run.


Access to health services. (2012). Healthy People 2020. Retrieved:


Galewich, Phil. (2012). Access to care in the U.S. worsens. St. Louis Dispatch. Retrieved:


Lowrey, Anna & Richard Pear. (2012). Doctor shortage to worsen with U.S. healthcare law.

The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/health/policy/too-few-doctors-in-many-us-communities.html?_r=0

Overview of the uninsured in the United States: A summary of the 2011 current population survey. (2011). ASPE. Retrieved: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2011/cpshealthins2011/ib.shtml

Roy, Avik. (2012). Health affairs study. Forbes. Retrieved:


Trapp, Douglass. (2008). Health care access problems surge among insured Americans.

AMA. http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2008/07/21/gvl10721.htm

What is a health insurance exchange? (2012). Kaiser Permanente.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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