U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants the federal government to boost the number of physician residency slots in areas facing declines in their number of doctors.
Schumer's legislation would boost the number of residency positions funded by Medicare by 15,000 over five years, and direct that hospitals in areas with the greatest doctor shortages get priority for the positions.
The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
The New York Democrat detailed his proposal Wednesday in a phone call with reporters.
Schumer says doctor shortages were once a particular problem for upstate New York but are now spreading throughout the state as older physicians retire.
Sixty-five percent of New York's rural communities don't have enough physicians to meet local needs.