Maybe. Actually a lot of schools already started increasing their classes this past year, and the average stats of matriculants increased, not decreased. Seems the applicant pool is keeping pace.
It should also be noted that thus far there has been no plan for funding of an increase in residency slots at the other end, so this means more competition for the existing slots, i.e. harder to get a competitive residency, more allo folks driven into primary care, more offshore educated folks getting the squeeze out of some of the spots they previously snagged unopposed.
Like to add, yes this is good news but the increased spots do not mean that the standards will change, thousands do not get accepted that are "Borderline" and that will continue, Also the residencies do need to increase since there is a Doc shortage in Primary care. In my opinion this is in response to the growing Caribbean grads. More are now practicing then before. So if I'm right then the push for more residencies is going to be weak because the push to exclude more Caribbean grads may be the goal for some?
I agree with the above, it doesn't really change much. Compared with 1990, 2000 and now, the numbers have been increasing a great deal. More so than the number of slots for med school. By 2012, we'll either be in the same position we are in today since the rate of increase in class size is evened out by the rate of increase of applicants, or worse, they find out that its still not enough to meet the demands of our healthcare system (which IMO is what will happen).
Look at California, most of the med schools here are top tier, yet we only offer a total of like 600-900 seats. UC Davis increased the class size to maybe 98 or something (from 93), and I'm sure the other UC med schools did something similar, but thats not a lot. The way to drastically increase the number of physicians is to make NEW med schools or double existing class sizes. Both of these are expensive endeavors and most likely, not something that most universities and existing med schools would like to do. I heard that UCR may want to build its own med school, but even then I haven't heard anything new about it since 2004.
This of course also doesn't take into account the ever increasing MCAT and GPA of every applicant that we're applying against either. But that should be expected.