Monday, March 18, 2013

WSJ on Schwartz Bill

On Thursday, March 14th, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D), of Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district, and Aaron Schock (R), of Illinois's 18th congressional district, introduced HR 1201, a bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for the distribution of additional residency positions, and for other purposes.  So far there is only one other co-sponsor.  The text of the bill is not yet on Thomas.

However, the Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on the bill and the general subject it addresses on Thursday.  "Squeeze looms for doctors," by Melinda Beck describes the current shortage of available residency positions for new doctors, and how this bill is designed to address it.

There is a shortage of primary care physicians.  New medical schools have opened to train more doctors.  However, there is a bottleneck in the educational process.  All medical school graduates must complete a residency, lasting between three and seven years, of work under the general supervision of one or more physicians before they can practice on their own.  Residency positions are funded by Medicare and the number of available slots was last set by law in 1997.  No new positions can be created unless the cap is lifted.

The bill that Schwarz and Schock introduced would do just that.

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