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June 20, 2013 9:16 AM How Medical Schools Fail to Produce the Doctors We Need

By Paul Glastris

In America today, it takes nearly a month for the average new patient to get an appointment with a family doctor. But in most cities, you can see a cardiologist almost as quickly as Zappos delivers shoes.

Our health care system produces far too many specialists and far too few primary doctors. This is partly why our health care system costs so much more than in other countries without creating better outcomes. Yet the need for primary care is set to explode. Our population is growing and aging, and the Affordable Care Act will add thirty million newly insured patients to the health care system.

As a nation, we are ill-equipped to meet the coming crisis in primary care, and among the biggest culprits are America’s medical schools.

Each year, the country spends $13 billion in tax dollars subsidizing graduate medical education. But as Philip Longman explains in this special sneak peek from our July/August issue, almost all this money winds up producing the wrong kinds of doctors in the wrong places. Worse yet, America’s most elite teaching hospitals are the biggest offenders.

Read “First Teach No Harm.”

Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly.

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