Florida TaxWatch Economic Commentary
Stemming Florida's physician shortage
For many Floridians, especially our elderly residents, visiting the doctor is a necessity for maintaining a comfortable, healthy life. Despite advances in delivery methods, new medical schools, and its emergence as a global medical tourism destination,1Florida’s healthcare system is facing a significant challenge, as the demand for doctors in the state of Florida is outpacing the current supply. This issue affects not only Florida’s healthcare system, it can also have repercussions on the economy.
According to a recent study commissioned by teaching and safety net hospitals, Florida will have a shortage of approximately 7,000 doctors by the year 2025,2largely as a result of Florida’s aging physician population and the lack of young doctors practicing within the state. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), nearly 30 percent of Florida’s physicians are at least 60 years of age, but roughly only 10 percent of the physicians in the state are under the age of 35, meaning that without an influx of younger physicians, Florida’s demand for physicians will even further outpace the current supply rate.
With the loss of doctors, there are many facets of the Florida economy that will be greatly affected. For one, Florida relies heavily on its elderly population. Florida currently has the largest percentage of residents above the age of 65 (18.7 percent of Florida’s population) of any state in the nation.3 According to the Sun Sentinel, a recent study ranks Florida 28th in the nation for best conditions for seniors,4 and the lack of quality health care was a major contributing factor in this rating. Currently, Florida ranks 34th in terms of health care in the nation,5and there is a risk that Florida could lose out on retirees due to the lack of access to quality health care in the future, which would have a serious effect on Florida’s economy.
Impact of Physicians
Florida’s physicians are also major contributors to the state’s economy. An economic impact study released by the AMA shows that physicians have a positive economic impact in terms of jobs supported, sales revenues, wages and benefits, and state and local taxes.6 According to the study, Florida’s more than 43,000 patient care doctors generated an estimated $76.4 billion in direct and indirect sales revenues, as well as $2.3 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2012.7 Physicians’ work statewide also supported, either directly or indirectly, more than a half a million jobs, paying out more than $40 billion in wages and benefits for hard-working Floridians across the state.8 According to the AMA, Florida physicians lead those in Texas, New York, Virginia, and Georgia on all of the above metrics with the exception of state and local taxes, which is reasonably predictable due to Florida’s relatively low tax burden.9
|Economic Impact of Physicians (per physician)9|
||Jobs Supported||Sales Revenue||Wages & Benefits||State & Local Taxes|
1 Florida TaxWatch. Medical Tourism in Florida. October 2014
2 Gluck, Frank. “Florida Hospital Study Warns of Doctor Shortage.” News-Press 18 Feb. 2015. Print
3 United States Government. Census Bureau. As the Nation Ages, Seven States Become Younger, Census Bureau Reports. N.p., 26 June 2014.
4 Gehrke-White, Donna. “Florida Ranked below Average as a Place to Retire.” Sun Sentinel 24 Mar. 2015. Print.
6 The National Economic Impact of Physicians. Rep. N.p.: American Medical Association, 2014. Print.
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