2014-04-02 / Features

Crowley’s Bill On Doctor Shortage Tops 100 Co-Sponsors


Crowley noted that according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. is expected to face a shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians and 46,000 surgeons and medical specialists—“a stunning shortage” of more than 91,000 doctors— by 2020. Crowley noted that according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. is expected to face a shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians and 46,000 surgeons and medical specialists—“a stunning shortage” of more than 91,000 doctors— by 2020. A record high 100 bi-partisan Congressmembers have signed on in support of Congressmember Joseph Crowley’s bill to address the looming doctor shortage, Crowley announced.

His bill, the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act, would expand the current cap on the number of Medicare-supported training slots for doctors, helping to ensure teaching hospitals can meet the growing demand for more physicians, Crowley explained.

The announcement follows what is known as “Match Day”, when medical students throughout the country learned where they will be assigned for the next stage of their required training. Crowley, the vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said reports indicate that nearly 1,000 U.S. medical school graduates “did not initially match to a position”, and even after the supplemental next stage of offers, the total number of unmatched graduates is estimated “to be several hundred”.

“On this Match Day,” said Crowley (D–Queens/The Bronx), “we saw that too many graduating medical students were left without a residency position because there are not enough training slots. This bottleneck in doctor training is standing in the way of addressing the looming doctor shortage and discouraging promising younger students from entering the medical profession. The broad, bipartisan support for this legislation demonstrates the urgent need to prevent the very real threat of a doctor shortage in this country.”

Crowley noted that according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. is expected to face a shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians and 46,000 surgeons and medical specialists—“a stunning shortage” of more than 91,000 doctors—by 2020.

The lawmaker said the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act would increase the number of Medicare-supported hospital residency positions by 15,000 (3,000 slots per year, over five years), bringing the total number of slots available to approximately 102,000. The legislation also places an emphasis, he said, on expanding residency slots in primary care and other specialties necessary to meet the needs of a growing population.

Explaining the background of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act, Crowley said it was introduced in March, 2013 by himself and Congressmember Michael Grimm (R–S.I.) in the House of Representatives, and by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.), Bill Nelson (D–FL), and Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV).

Crowley said the legislation is supported by the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Hospital Association, American Osteopathic Association, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Greater New York Hospital Association, Healthcare Association of New York State, and the Florida Hospital Association, among other leading national organizations.

CROWLEY CALLS FOR ACTION ON IMMIGRATION REFORM: In a move that calls on Congress to allow a vote on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, Congressmember Joseph Crowley signed a discharge petition last week to “force” the House Republican leadership to allow a vote on H.R. 15, the bipartisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.

If 218 members of Congress sign the petition, the bill would be called up for a vote. Crowley said a recent study by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded passage of H.R. 15 would reduce the nation’s deficit by $900 billion.

Crowley, stated: “By signing this petition [to discharge], we are sending a clear message: we demand a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.”

Crowley pointed out, “For generations, this country has offered the hope of a stronger future to people from all corners of the world. My family, like so many others, came here from another land in search of the promise of a better life.”

“For today’s immigrants, that promise is hanging in the balance. It depends on Congress enacting a comprehensive immigration reform measure that will bring millions out of the shadows, allow them to live and work here without fear of being separated from their families and offer them the chance to someday reach the ultimate goal of becoming an American citizen.”

Crowley noted, “By passing comprehensive immigration reform, we can not only continue our proud immigration tradition, but also honor it with an immigration system that actually works. There is no reason this important issue should continue to languish in favor of political games. The time is now for action, and I am proud to add my voice to those calling for immediate progress on real reform.”

Crowley has been an outspoken advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. Last fall, Crowley, along with Congressmembers Luis Gutierrez (D–IL), John Lewis (D–GA), other House colleagues, and 200 immigration reform advocates, were arrested by the U.S. Capitol Police in an act of civil disobedience, calling on Congress to address immigration reform. In December, Crowley fasted in support of Fast for Families, a group of advocates who fasted to call attention to Republican leaders’ refusal to address comprehensive immigration reform.

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