When health care industry experts decried the potential effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a phrase heard over and over during discussions was "provider shortage."

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration predicted in the November 2013 report, "Projecting the Supply and Demand for Primary Care Practitioners Through 2020," that based on utilization patterns, the number of primary care physicians will increase by 8 percent by 2020, but the demand for primary physicians will increase by 14 percent, well outpacing the supply.

However, whether that shortage is a result of the increased access to health care mandated by PPACA – and whether there is actually a shortage in the first place – remains up for debate among many industry professionals.

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