Katie Couric's Notebook: Primary Care

You know the frustration. It takes weeks or months to get a doctor's appointment. And then you sometimes spend an hour or more in the waiting room. Well, bring a good book next time because that wait could get even longer.

A report from the American Academy of Family Physicians predicts a shortage of 40-thousand primary care doctors by 2020. Specialists tend to have more prestige and fatter pay checks. So, the number of students going into family medicine is only half of what it was a decade ago - and it comes as baby boomers begin to crowd offices looking for elder care. If Congress extends health insurance to more Americans, that would strain the system even further.

Lawmakers are considering several remedies; including expanded roles for nurse practitioners and helping family doctors pay off medical school debt. More GPs are needed STAT, so whatever prescription the doctor orders, it needs to be taken now before the health of the system is beyond repair.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.

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