The impact of the affordable care act on the impending doctor shortage: a prospective analysis
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Health care reform in America has been controversial since its inception in the early twentieth century. The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by President Obama in March 2010 represents the most recent chapter in a protracted struggle between Democrats and Republicans over fundamental tenets of health care—is health care an essential human right or is it a commodity? Who should bear the financial burden of paying for health care? Should this be a federal or state issue? And how do we insure more individuals but still cut rising costs? This thesis explores the history of health care reform, from pre-World War I to post-Cold War, and then delves into the basic provisions of the ACA. An overview of the impending physician shortage, including the methodology of the physician supply and demand projections, the different variables included in the analysis, and how physician supply and demand can be expected to change over time given the different variables, is included. After reviewing the ACA and the doctor shortage independently, the next stage of analysis incorporates this information to explore the impact of the ACA on the impending doctor shortage. The discussion section provides further insight into this subject and concludes with future considerations—including the upcoming presidential election—as well as limitations of this thesis and ideas for additional research.