Trump's Travel Ban could worsen Texas' doctor shortage

AUSTIN, TX— - New research by graduate students at Harvard University and MIT found Trump's latest immigration-related executive order could cause doctor shortages in the U.S.

Texas already faces a shortage of primary care doctors and many of the state’s inner cities and rural areas depend on international medical graduates who come to the U.S. to complete medical residencies.

“I think you’ll feel it acutely in Texas,” said Dennis Andrulis, PhDThe senior research scientist at the Texas Health Institute, Andrulis said, “This international medical group is a small but significant.”

Government programs often offer incentives to steer foreign-born doctors toward areas where there are not enough doctors. “To help them cover the populations that other providers won’t want to care for,” said Andrulis.

“Those who are trying to care for low-income populations are drawing on these resources, these medical residents, to help them meet that need; they are the ones that are likely to really suffer,” said Andrulis.

“Opportunities to go out and work in community-based care will also be significantly compromised,” Andrulis added.

That’s unless waivers are granted and Andrulis doesn’t expect many hospitals will want to deal with all that paperwork.

The Trump administration promised to appeal the judge’s decision to block the latest travel ban.

At a rally in Tennessee Wednesday night, Trump told the crowd, "This ruling makes us look weak.” The president added, "We're talking about the safety of our nation and the safety and security of our people."

The U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say if the ban is constitutional.  

Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will temporarily suspend expedited applications for H-1B visas starting April 3. Many immigrants’ doctors rely on H-1B visas to stay and practice medicine in the U.S. after residency.

“What will end up happening is it will show up in other ways, in the emergency room where people say I can’t wait any longer I have to go to see the doctor,” Andrulis  said.

Whether the Republican’s healthcare proposal will include incentives for doctors is still a big question mark—along with the fate of the travel ban.

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