The U.S. is expected to need 52,000 more primary care physicians by 2025, according to a study by the Robert Graham Center, which does family medicine policy research. But funding for teaching hospitals that could train thousands more of these doctors expires in late 2015.
Population growth will drive most of the need for family care doctors, accounting for 33,000 additional physicians, the study says. The aging population will require about 10,000 more. The Affordable Care Act is expected to increase the number of family doctors needed by more than 8,000, the study says.
Farzan Bharucha, a health care strategist with consulting firm Kurt Salmon, says the ACA should have focused more on the primary care shortage "because we already knew there was a problem -- and we knew implementation of ACA would potentially make it worse."