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Minnesota doctor shortage looms: 30 percent will retire in next decade

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We're all getting older. But not as fast as our doctors are.

KSTP reports on projections that 30 percent of Minnesota's doctors will retire in the next 10 years.

The station reports that replacing them will be a challenge, especially since state funding to train doctors at the U of M medical school was cut in half two years ago. Gov. Mark Dayton's proposed budget would restore those cuts, which the leader of the medical school considers a good start.

If there was ever a good time for a doctor shortage, it would not be now.

Health care changes in the pipeline are about to give thousands of Minnesotans new access to insurance. As the state's human services commissioner noted in a recent panel discussion in Duluth, many of the newly insured will want to make use of their access to health care. That means demand for doctors will likely ramp up just as the supply begins dwindling.

Plus, there's that getting older thing. As the baby boom generation moves into retirement, its need for medical care will grow. That's something the group Minnesota 2020 noted last summer, when it issued recommendations for how the state can cope with its looming doctor shortage.

Many rural counties already report shortages. MPR reported last summer that that helps explain the geographic discrepancies in the rate of Cesarean section births across the state.

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