Robert Orr wrote this piece on America’s convoluted federal-funding system for National Review on October 26, 2021. Read the full story here.
The United States is facing a critical shortage of doctors. Our health-care system produces fewer physicians per person than virtually every other developed country. Of the doctors we do train, most opt for high-paying specialties instead of pursuing careers in primary care. The result has been a persistent gap in primary-care access despite soaring levels of spending, now exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.
At the root of our primary-care shortage is America’s broken system of graduate medical education. Becoming a doctor in the U.S. requires at least eight years of post-secondary education, plus three to nine years of training in postgraduate residency and fellowship programs. The average doctor graduates holding over $240,000 in student debt. With no guarantee of securing a residency spot (thousands of U.S. graduates go unmatched each year), it’s no surprise that those who make it through the pipeline get pulled into lucrative specialties with the highest earning potential.
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