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New York doesn’t have a shortage of doctors

New York State does not have shortage of doctors – far from it. The number of doctors in New York has been mushrooming, at a pace that far exceeds the increase in the state’s population. Scaring New Yorkers about a false shortage (April 15 letter, “Medical liability reform will ease doctor shortage”) for the sake of advancing an anti-patient agenda should be rejected.

Over the last 10 years, New York has seen a 35 percent increase in the number of doctors, yet the population increased only 2 percent. And while there have been some areas that defied that trend, those are areas, like Western New York, that have seen a decrease in total population.

Still, there are those who wish to fool New Yorkers into thinking there is a crisis upstate resulting from doctors’ medical malpractice premiums. The truth is that downstate is the area with the highest malpractice insurance rates – precisely the part of the state that has seen the greatest growth in the number of doctors.

New Yorkers deserve the facts, not fear mongering. It is estimated that between 200,000 and 400,000 hospital patients are killed each year in America due to medical mistakes. That’s the real crisis. Policymakers should strive to make medicine safer, not erode the legal rights of those harmed.

Blair Horner

Legislative Director, New York

Public Interest Research Group