NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Projecting U.S. Primary Care Physician Workforce Needs: 2010-2025

November 26, 2012

Researchers in the Annals of Family Medicine sought to project the number of primary care physicians required to meet U.S. health care needs through 2025 after passage of the Affordable Care Act.

They used the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to calculate the use of office-based primary care in 2008. They also used U.S. Census Bureau projections to account for demographic changes and the American Medical Association's Masterfile to calculate the number of primary care physicians and determine the number of visits per physician.

  • Driven by population growth and aging, the total number of office visits to primary care physicians is projected to increase from 462 million in 2008 to 565 million in 2025.
  • After incorporating insurance expansion, the United States will require nearly 52,000 additional primary care physicians by 2025.
  • Population growth will be the largest driver, accounting for 33,000 additional physicians, while 10,000 additional physicians will be needed to accommodate population aging.
  • Insurance expansion will require more than 8,000 additional physicians, a 3 percent increase in the current workforce.

Source: Stephen M. Petterson et al., "Projecting U.S. Primary Care Physician Workforce Needs: 2010-2025," Annals of Family Medicine, November/December 2012.


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