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Stethescope on top of pile of money
The U.S. is going to need some 16,000 new primary care providers in the next few years as the Affordable Care Act expands health insurance coverage. That's the conclusion of a report from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and the Select Committee on Aging. This isn't news, and it's not something the writers of the Affordable Care Act weren't aware of. In fact, they planned for it. They created the National Health Care Workforce Commission in the law to help identify ways in which the primary care workforce could be grown.

But here's the problem. The 15 members of the commission have been named, but it's never met. Why? Because it's never been funded. Sanders held a hearing on Tuesday to push for a renewed effort to get this commission off the ground, noting that 57 million Americans lack ready access to primary care.

If House Republicans have their way, those millions of Americans (aka, constituents) will continue to lack access to care. Because the House Republicans have taken the commission hostage. Never mind that the $3 million required to get the commission up and running is a tiny, tiny sum. Never mind that the shortage of primary care professionals has been an ongoing problem and will continue to be regardless of the fact that Obamacare is law of the land. Trying to fix that shortage is part of Obamacare, so it must die. If they can't repeal it, they'll kill it by refusing to fund it. Any people killed in the meantime by their lack of access to care are just unfortunate innocent bystanders.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:12 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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