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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Occupational Licensing Laws Hurt Patients and Increase Health Care Costs

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide valuable medical care to oftentimes underserved communities at a lower cost.

By Allie Howell June 5, 2018

The United States is expected to face a shortage of 46,000 to 90,000 physicians by 2025. In rural communities, the shortage is already here—while 20 percent of Americans live in rural communities, only 10 percent of all doctors practice in them.

One potential solution is to decrease physician’s monopoly over primary care by increasing the autonomy and scope of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs). Non-physician health care providers deliver medical services that people would otherwise go without or would pay much more for, especially in rural areas where doctors are few and far between. NPs and PAs can increase competition in areas with few doctors and put downward pressure on prices for routine procedures.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses, with either a master’s degree or clinical doctorate degrees, who are qualified to diagnose and treat diseases and prescribe medication. Physician assistants also have a master’s degree and usually work underneath a doctor as part of team-based medicine. They can review lab results, conduct physical examinations, and take medical histories. Both NPs and PAs must be nationally certified and licensed by the state.........To Read More....

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