With 30 million new people expected to enter the health-care system in 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, experts say a looming doctor shortage isn’t a chance—it’s a fact.
“These 30 million new patients have either not gone to the doctor or [have been] going to the emergency room so that is putting pressure into the system. You have a foundational supply and demand shift,” says Mitch Rothschild, CEO of Vitals, a consumer tool physician evaluation company.
He expects the shortage to hit the primary care physician (PCP) arena the hardest and explains that there is approximately one PCP for every 1,500 people in the U.S. but come 2020, there will be about 70,000 less doctors available to consumers as a direct result of the law, according to Deloitte.
In fact, a recent Deloitte 2013 survey of U.S. physicians found 57% doctors view changes in the industry under health-care reform as a threat, and six in 10 physicians report it’s likely that many will retire earlier than planned in the next two to three years, fueling the shortage.
Here’s the Doctor, You Have 6 Minutes
Here’s the problem: the number of people in the patient pool will increase 12% next year, but the supply of doctors will hold steady. Patients are already waiting longer to see their physicians and spending less time with them than they have in the past, according to Rothschild. On average, Vitals found patients are waiting 6% longer to see their doctors and spending only six minutes in the exam room.
“You’re going to wait longer and spend less time with doctors,” he says.
Read more: Obamacare Reality: Doctor Shortage on the Way | Fox Business