Thanks to the state’s embrace of Obamacare, California has expanded health insurance to millions of uninsured residents over the last five years. But as the number of people covered has grown, so has the strain on the doctors, clinics and hospitals that must respond to the increasing demand for care.
The problem is especially acute when it comes to primary care doctors and other front-line care providers, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners. A study by UC San Francisco estimated that the state will have a shortfall of 4,700 of these clinicians by 2025. And the California Future Health Workforce Commission warned earlier this year: “Seven million Californians, the vast majority of them Latino, black and Native American, live in Health Professional Shortage Areas — a federal designation for counties experiencing shortfalls of primary care, dental care or mental health care providers.”