Reps. Sewell, Fitzpatrick Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Physician Shortage and Improve Access to Health Care
March 29, 2023
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell (AL-07) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2023. This bipartisan legislation would combat the nation’s physician shortage and improve access to health care by expanding the number of Medicare-supported medical residency positions by 14,000 over seven years.
“In Alabama and all across the nation, we are facing an urgent physician shortage that will only get worse as our population continues to age,” said Rep. Sewell, lead sponsor. “By adding 14,000 new graduate medical education residency positions over the next seven years, this critical legislation will give hospitals and health centers the tools they need to improve access to care, lower wait times for patients, and create a pipeline of qualified medical professionals to serve Americans’ health needs.”
“In the face of a severe physician shortage, it is more important than ever to have highly-trained doctors in our hospitals,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick, lead Republican sponsor. “The bipartisan Resident Physician Shortage Act will create more opportunities for aspiring doctors to join residency programs and help meet the growing demand for high-quality health care.”
According to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States faces a projected physician shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034, with demand for physicians outpacing supply. The nation’s demographics—particularly population growth and aging—serve as the primary driver of increasing demand for physician services. As the population continues to age and requires more medical care, it is critical to ensure there are enough physicians to care for those who need physician services. In addition, as a large portion of the physician workforce nears traditional retirement age, there is a critical need to educate and train more physicians to ensure there are enough physicians to care for patients across all communities in the future.
“The residency positions in the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act are a critical step in working to address the nation’s dire physician shortage,” said Association of American Medical Colleges President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD. “We thank Reps. Sewell and Fitzpatrick for their dedication to ensuring access to high-quality health care for all by expanding critical investments in physician training. By strategically targeting these new medical residency positions at a wide variety of teaching hospitals, we are also strengthening and diversifying the health care workforce and improving critical access to care for patients, families, and communities across the country.”
“Hospitals are emerging from the pandemic with the dual crises of soaring inflation and a worsening labor shortage,” said Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth E. Raske. “The time to reinvest in our physician workforce is now. GNYHA strongly supports this important bill, which tackles the physician shortage head-on by adding 14,000 Medicare-funded graduate medical education slots. The teaching hospital community thanks Representatives Sewell and Fitzpatrick for their leadership on this vital issue.”