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Will there be a physician shortage, and if so, should the government act now to expand medical school capacity and encourage hospitals to train more residents? This paper by Sean Nicholson, Ph.D., was commissioned for the RWJF/HCFO 2009 Policy Reform: Implications of the Supply and Organization of the Delivery System on Health Care Reform work group. The paper provides a brief history of government involvement in physician workforce planning, describes and assesses the methods used by the two sides of the physician-shortage debate, and addresses the fundamental underlying views that determine many observers’ positions in this debate.