Will Trump’s Immigration Ban Scare Away Foreign-Born Doctors?

AMA sends letter to Department of Homeland Security

For decades, foreign-born physicians have played an important role in shoring up America’s health care system, according to an article posted on the ProPublica website. The doctors come to the United States for residency training and stay to fill the country’s growing need for health care providers. President Trump’s temporary ban on immigration, however, may cause foreign-born physicians to go elsewhere, the article contends.

Approximately 926,000 doctors are in active practice in the United States. As of 2013, approximately 45,000 of them came from India, 11,000 from Pakistan, and 10,000 from the Philippines, according to data from the American Medical Association (AMA). An additional 3,800 came from Syria and 3,900 from Iran––countries included in Trump’s 90-day ban.

Moreover, the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that approximately 18,000 current medical residents are not U.S. citizens.

On February 2, the AMA sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security voicing concern that residencies may go unfilled and urging it to “provide details and mitigate any negative impact on our nation’s health care system.”

According to ProPublica, foreign-born doctors often are willing to work in the isolated rural areas, small towns, and blighted urban centers that many American-born doctors shun. In addition, the need for foreign physicians is likely to grow. A 2016 report by the medical colleges association has projected a shortage of between 62,000 and 95,000 primary-care and specialty physicians during the next decade as the aged population grows.

Source: ProPublica; February 2, 2017.