College of Arts and Sciences


Philosophy and Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Erin Vernon, PhD

Faculty Editor

Vladimir Dashkeev, PhD

Student Editor

Lexi Ziegler


Primary care (that is, internal medicine, family medicine, or pediatrics) is the cornerstone of healthcare in the United States due to its focus on general care, wellness checkups, immunizations, and other forms of preventative care, yet the number of primary care physicians is expected to drop substantially in the coming years, posing major threats to the country’s healthcare system and the health outcomes of Americans. The presence of primary care physicians (PCPs) is associated with positive health outcomes, and higher life expectancy combined with lower medical spending; these are important measures of a country’s health and its healthcare system’s accessibility, affordability, and effectiveness. Due to a population that is both growing and growing older, as well as healthcare expansions from the coverage Affordable Care Act (ACA), the demand for healthcare in the United States is increasing while the number of PCPs per capita is decreasing. Even worse, Americans in vulnerable and underserved populations are disproportionally affected and may wait months to be seen by a PCP, refill their prescriptions, and receive other necessary services. To highlight the importance of PCPs, this paper recommends as a policy tuition forgiveness for US medical students who become PCPs and work in underserved communities for at least four years. This policy addresses the shortage of PCPs to increase their supply in areas which lack them.