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RESTORING THE DOCTORS OF OUR COUNTRY THROUGH SCHOLARSHIPS ACT OF 2012
(Extensions of Remarks - September 13, 2012)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1524]
 RESTORING THE DOCTORS OF OUR COUNTRY THROUGH SCHOLARSHIPS ACT OF 2012

                                  _____
                                 

                           HON. JIM McDERMOTT

                             of washington

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, September 13, 2012

  Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, of all of the challenges facing our 
nation's health-care system, perhaps the most neglected is the gaping 
hole in our workforce of primary-care physicians. One estimate projects 
a shortage of 45,000 primary-care doctors by 2020. Due to the 
retirement of a generation of physicians, the aging of our population, 
and the entry into the system of some 30 million newly insured thanks 
to the Affordable Care Act, we do not have enough primary-care doctors 
to meet the demand, and the problem will continue to worsen without a 
major initiative to produce new doctors.
  Primary-care doctors are the front lines of our physician workforce. 
Under the right conditions, they oversee and coordinate health care for 
their patients. They educate patients on how to prevent illness and 
manage chronic conditions. They are the medical generalists who 
establish long-lasting bonds with patients throughout their lives. 
Proper primary care is also one of the keys to containing health-care 
costs. On the other hand, inadequate primary care leads to neglected 
and mismanaged conditions, which causes costly emergencies and 
illnesses downstream.
  I am introducing the RDOCS Act to help solve this problem. Modeled 
after the successful ROTC program, RDOCS offers full scholarships to 
medical students in exchange for a 5-year service commitment in a 
medically underserved area. RDOCS will be administered by the states, 
which will send RDOCS scholars to their state-operated medical schools. 
RDOCS officers (as they are known after graduation) will then become 
licensed and serve as primary-care doctors in their state of residence. 
The program is authorized to start immediately and begin graduating its 
first additional 4,000 new primary-care doctors in 2020, and 20,000 new 
doctors by 2024.
  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we are going to get close to 
universal health coverage in the United States. But universal coverage 
will not be meaningful if we don't have enough doctors to serve our 
population. I am optimistic that Congress can demonstrate leadership in 
restoring our doctor workforce for the next generation.

                          ____________________




    

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