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New Jersey, perhaps mostly famous these days for the shall we say colorful "Jersey Shore" show on MTV, doesn't just export bad looks, poor morals and a stench of bad cologne. Now they're exporting doctors... In droves.
Many communities in America are or are about to face a shortage of doctors, and it looks like New Jersey will be no exception. Of the medical students it trains, the Garden State only keeps 34% of them within their borders after their schooling is complete. That's well below the national retention rate average of 48%.
Why are docs leaving New Jersey?
A survey of doctors found that New Jersey's cost of living and taxes are way too high for them to practice in the state. They also cite the high price of homes and the low salaries they face if they stay in New Jersey post-graduation.
A resident physician finishing his education in New Jersey faces $200,000 in student loans, said James Sherer, a New Jersey Medical School second-year student, who spoke from experience.
Meanwhile, a primary-care physician can expect to earn an average $125,000 a year upon graduation, said Deborah S. Briggs, president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals and the Council of Children’s Hospitals.
Another key factor is the high cost of malpractice insurance. According to My9NJ, New Jersey has the third-highest malpractice insurance rates in the nation, a burden that has also driven doctors out of other costal states, like California. It's a factor that is driving many docs to move to Texas, where real medical malpractice reform has led to a friendlier business climate for physicians.
All of these problems could get worse under Obamacare. With the implementation of a health care system that is more socialized, doctors could feel an serious income hit in particular. That would continue to hurt docs in high tax-high cost of living states.
Unless New Jersey can make their state more welcoming to physicians, its residents could be without access to important health care practitioners.
By 2020, New Jersey could be short by some 3,000 physicians, most of them in specialties that care for women and children, according to the Council of Teaching Hospitals…
Studies indicate that by 2020, New Jersey will be in the middle of a severe physicians’ shortage made more dire by the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
When that legislation is enacted, some 25 million additional people will be covered by insurance and seeking physicians.
Steve Littleson, president of Jersey Shore University Medical Center, laid the blame squarely at the feet of the President's signature legislative achievement. He said that Obamacare "will cause a severe shortage of physicians" in New Jersey.
But wait, I thought Obamacare was supposed to provide better healthcare to everyone? Unicorns and rainbows. Unicorns and rainbows.