In JRW Healthcare Article, medical insurance expert witness Jon R. Wampler writes:
Secondly, we need to drastically increase the number of Family Physicians, General Internists, and General Pediatricians. Our ratio of Family Practice physicians to specialists runs about 30/70. We need to reverse that percentage with Family Medicine restored to its traditional place of dignity and importance.
Only 2% of this year’s medical students have chosen Family Medicine as their specialty. If you think waiting for an appointment is bad now, just add 45 million more people to the mix to find out just what the word ugly means. As baby boomers age (78 million of us now out of 330 million), the need for Family Medicine is more urgent than ever.
If the government really wants to make an impact, let’s pay all medical school tuition for those who are willing to take up the practice of Family Medicine. As a further incentive, let’s reinvent reimbursement rates for these physicians and join the modern era by paying them for email consultations, consulting time spent with their patients and extra incentives for preventative medicine. These important physicians should also be incentivized to practice medicine in rural and urban settings through additional compensation. We have asked Family Medicine to do too much, with too little, for the last 30 years. Now is the time to get creative in educating the type of physicians who will be the lynch-pins in revolutionizing our current healthcare system.
We have all seen the graphs about increasing healthcare costs, growing faster than GDP. The reason is simple, the American people buy healthcare without using any of our own money. Out-of-pocket expenses for Americans now accounts for only 12% of all health spending, a percentage that has been falling for decades. We need to let consumers direct their own spending. Having additional family doctors would help this problem quickly.