Medicare support provides vital funding to train doctors and maintain patient access.
California needs more doctors. The state already faces a physician shortage and it will grow to as many as 17,000 doctors by 2015. The demand for doctors will only increase as the population ages and more people become insured through federal health reform.
The physician work force is aging. California has the largest percentage of physicians (30 percent) who are over age 60 and ready to retire in the next few years.
The University of California plays a critical role in training physicians. UC trains more than 3,100 medical students, nearly half of the state’s total. UC also trains more than 4,400 medical residents and fellows, nearly half of the state’s total.
A cut in federal funding for training physicians would have a devastating impact on the health of California and the nation. The president’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (“deficit commission”) proposed a $60 billion cut over 10 years in Medicare support for graduate medical education.
If Congress supports the deficit commission’s GME recommendations, UC would lose an estimated $900 million over 10 years. This action would threaten patient access to care by shrinking UC’s physicians training programs and endangering access to critical services such as trauma or cancer care that many patients may someday need.