Cross-Posted from Project Millennial – On the Doc Shortage

(I asked the good people at Project Millennial if I could write for them. It’s focused on health policy and my generation. You should check it out)

Why One Millennial is Staying Cool About the Doctor Shortage

Listen up, folks. If you’re single, now is an excellent time to find yourself a nice med student or resident; if you’re already in a relationship, ask your partner really nicely to go get an MD. While you’re at it, start stocking up on Neosporin and Band-Aids. Why? Well, it’s that time of the year when multiple articles get all Paul Revere on the projected doctor shortage: “The doc shortage is coming! The doc shortage is coming!” And you don’t want to be left behin PCP-less, do you?

This time, the instigating factor is PPACA, the health care reform bill that the Supreme Court decided was constitutional in June. Annie Lowrey and Robert Pear over at The New York Times posted a piece in early August that discussed what is expected to happen when PPACA’s mandated state exchanges start in January 2014; John Goodman wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that blamed much of the expected shortage on PPACA and argued that Medicaid beneficiaries will not have access to physician coverage; Uwe Reinhardt added his thoughts on how physician shortages vary across states, as do conceptions of what a shortage is. The Reinhardt post is a bit more sanguine than both Lowrey/Pear and Goodman, but all touch on a key point: if physician supply can’t keep up with physician demand, all manner of social ills will result.

Like any good millennial, the first question I asked after reading through the articles was “Does this affect me?” (That’s a joke, mostly.) The answer I came up with: probably not much, and definitely not as much as some of these articles suggest. It’s not that I’m denying the existence of a shortage. More than anything else, I think that innovations in how care is delivered and how we manage our conditions will render the shortage much less harmful than currently believed.

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Life Update (for the non-Facebook stalkers)

To date, this blog hasn’t been especially personal – if you look back through the posts, you could be forgiven for not knowing anything about me. I’m going to try to work on that.

In April 2011 – when I last posted – I was living in Minnesota, travelling to Jackson, Mississippi each week for work. Since then, I’ve worked in Charlottesville, Virginia and Palo Alto, California. I lived in Palo Alto for eight months during my project and moved to Denver, Colorado in April.

My wonderful friend Anna hosted my girlfriend and I during a trip to Israel (that’s the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, above – it’s the gold one), Jordan, and Turkey, which was eye-opening and amazing.

Denver in the summer has been chock-full of breweries, biking, Rockies games, and meeting new friends, with some hiking (and camping soon). Plus I was back in Minnesota for the State Fair (which is exactly what you would expect it to be, Hotdish-on-a-Stick and all).

So that’s me, in this moment anyway. More to come –


Back to it


For anyone keeping track: this is the third time I’ve start to start/restart writing on a blog. It’s been something like 16 months since my last post, which included a few links that are somehow still timely (tax reform, Egypt, etc.).

Anyway, I decided it’d be good for me to start writing again, so in addition to this blog I’ll continue to write about health policy and my generation at Project Millenial and elsewhere, too. I’m pretty sure I’ll get more than three posts in before I quit at this blog (already 1/3 of the way there!).

Stay tuned.