Shortage of 200,000 Doctors Predicted in US by 2020 NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Nov 02 - Over the next two decades, a shortage of 200,000 physicians could occur in the US unless measures are taken to curb current economic and medical trends, according to a new report. Still, what should be done to remedy the problem remains unclear. The report, which is authored by Dr. Richard A. Cooper, from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, appears in the November 2nd issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. For the last 2 decades, medical school and residency program policy decisions have been based on the premise that there would be an impending physician surplus, Dr. Cooper notes. Not only did this surplus never materialize, he adds, but there is increasing evidence that a shortage of clinicians is on the horizon. Using a planning model that couples economic growth to health care spending and physician demand, Dr. Cooper was able to estimate the magnitude of a physician shortage or surplus in the coming decades. His conclusion? There is a physician shortage that is just beginning now, but will likely increase dramatically in the next 20 years. By 2020, there could be a shortage of 200,000 doctors -- about 20% of the required workforce. "The picture that emerges is uncomplicated and unambiguous. In simple numeric terms, the number of physicians is no longer keeping up with population growth," Dr. Cooper concludes. In a related editorial Dr. Alan M. Garber, from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and Dr. Harold C. Sox, from the American College of Physicians in Philadelphia, write that "increasing the supply of physicians gradually, in small increments -- ones that would not require major new investments in capital or teaching personnel -- is a prudent strategy." Ann Intern Med 2004;141:705-714,732-734. Source: Medscape is this true, I always thought there's a surplus of doctors in the US.