The New York Times reports today:

Obama administration officials, alarmed at doctor shortages, are looking for ways to increase the supply of physicians to meet the needs of an aging population and millions of uninsured people who would gain coverage under legislation championed by the president.

The officials said they were particularly concerned about shortages of primary care providers who are the main source of health care for most Americans.

The rapid growth of government controlled health care is already driving talent away from the medical profession. If a public plan is included in health care reform, private care will only erode further. Heritage fellow Robert Book explains what will happen next:

The absence of other payers would give the “single payer” the freedom to reduce payments far more than Medicare can in the presence of a large percentage of privately insured patients. The result would be substantially lower payments—the “single payer” would be a “stingy payer.” Physicians’ income would be substantially reduced. Indeed, in countries with single-payer health systems, the average income of physicians is substantially lower than in the United States. For example, physicians in the Britain and Canada have incomes more than 30 percent lower than their U.S. counterparts.

The establishment of a “single payer” health care system would inevitably result in lower payments for physician and other health care providers. The immediate effect of having a single (“stingy”) payer would be lower incomes for physicians and a reduction in the supply of active physicians, thereby impairing access to health care for all patients. However, the result of “single/stingy payer” health care will not only be lower incomes for physicians now but reduced