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After the recent surges of patients needing critical care, if you asked any New Yorker, “Would it be beneficial to have more physicians and more hospitals available to treat patients?” the answer would be a resounding yes.

In the age of COVID-19, there are three legislative acts that have greatly reduced the ability of the health care system to scale and react to a pandemic. Combined, they have set the table for the virus to inflict maximum damage on the health care industry’s ability to treat and care for patients.

The first of these was the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The Act was celebrated as an excellent piece of legislation, but the law had an unintended consequence. Inside this excellent piece of legislation was a clause that capped the number of residency spots for physicians. By capping the number, the government artificially limited the number of physicians who can enter the medical field. Today, the U.S. faces a significant physician shortage in all disciplines.

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