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Doctors and Nurse Practitioners Go to War in Five States

Glove

Bills that would allow nurse practitioners to care for patients without doctor supervision are making their way through five state legislatures right now. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are all in the mix, but it’s in California that the battle has gotten particularly hot. WSJ:

The California Medical Association, representing some 37,000 doctors, has spent more than $1 million to defeat the bill, arguing that allowing NPs to open practices without physician oversight would “ultimately harm patients and decrease quality of care.”

This campaign didn’t stop the state Assembly from passing a version of the bill this week, but in the process the legislation was amended to restrict the scope of the powers it was granting. Now the national nurse practitioner’s group has withdrawn its support, leaving state nurse practitioners to fight the California Medical Association on their own. The battle is likely to grow even more bitter.

We hope some form of this legislation passes in all five states. There’s undoubtedly  plenty of room to argue over specifics, but as this excellent Matt Ygelisas post points out (we covered it here), there’s actually no evidence that the quality of care delivered by nurse practitioners is systematically worse than that delivered by doctors, and nurse practitioners can do it at a lower cost.

[Glove image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    If there is a way to foul things up, the Democrats in control in California will find a way to do so. All those living in Democrat controlled states and cities should know that they are damned to suffer the same fate as Detroit, and should drop everything and leave immediately.

  • USNK2

    I agree with Yglesias “…actually no evidence that the quality of care delivered by nurse practitioners is systematically worse than that delivered by doctors, and nurse practitioners can do it at a lower cost. …”
    I have had both doctors and my current nurse practitioner make mistakes that have seriously damaged my health.
    What upsets me is that all I have is that nurse practitioner for the past 2+ years.
    Before Medicare put me on their “do NOTHING” list, I did have a few doctors who at least did a few blood tests so that I could manage my own health care, but they dropped Medicare patients.

  • Boritz

    This sounds like a bargain that nobody could pass up. Watch for the U.S. Congress to implement coverage for members of congress, their families, and congressional staffers that heavily utilizes nurse practitioners instead of physicians. Can Donald Trump, Oprah, and Warren Buffet or for that matter her majesty Queen Elizabeth II be expected to resist such a sensible and effective approach to health care delivery? Look for everyone to jump on this bandwagon. Physician, heal thyself, nobody else needs your services.

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