(Gigante, S. February 22, 2010).
These numbers suggest a population which will demand a high level of services over their retirement lives, and as such place enormous pressure on premiums and fees. The result of this excess demand will be a rejoinder by physicians, hospitals, and other service providers to increase prices. The issue will be how Medicare and Medicaid policy makers will treat these price increases. If history serves as a guide, Medicare cuts will not occur to control these price increases. Recently in November 2010, Congress again failed to act to control Medicare reimbursement costs. "Repeating what has become an ominous political ritual, U.S. lawmakers voted at the last minute Monday to delay a scheduled average 25% cut in physicians' Medicare reimbursements" (Gerencher, K. November 29, 2010). The continued inaction to control prices on a payer system which will cover an additional 78 million individuals will result in the inexorable price increases which have plagued the health care system.
In addition to senior citizens adding to the demand roles, the Patient Protection and Affordability Act of 2010 allows for some 32 million of currently uninsured Americans to purchase health insurance coverage through state exchanges utilizing government subsidies (Healthcare.gov....
N.D.). As 32 million more individuals utilize health services, the providers will invariably increase prices to take advantage. From a numbers perspective the overwhelming demand surge on health care services will continue to exert an enormous upward pressure on pricing.
Equally disturbing on the pricing front is the obverse in the demand equation, the overall supply of health services available for consumption by the public.
Even with significant changes to the health-care delivery system and improved prevention, the United States will face a shortage of more than 125,000 physicians in the next 15 years -- a daunting problem considering that we only train about 27,000 new doctors a year. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that at least 16,000 more primary care physicians are needed today. The doctor shortage affects primary care as well as many medical specialties, even without an expansion of health insurance. According to HHS, overall demand for physician services will increase an estimated 22% between 2005 and 2020, while the number of primary care physicians will increase by only 18% during this period. (Kirch, D. January 4, 2010)
What is at stake then is a definitive shortage of physicians both primary care and specialty, yet in addition there is an anticipated "U.S. nursing shortage projected to grow to 260,000 registered nurses by 2025" (American Association of Colleges
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