Nurse practitioners in California have just been handed a major defeat in their campaign for more autonomy. State Senator Ed Hernandez introduced a bill to allow them to provide care without doctor supervision, but intense physician lobbying killed the bill in committee on Friday. This is bad news for California, and for the national push
to give more powers to nurse practitioners. In an era of acute doctor shortages and rising health care costs, nurse practitioners can provide
basic care just as well as doctors, and they can do it more cheaply.There’s another twist to this story, too: the same physician lobbying group that killed the original bill supported a different bill that gives nurse practitioners one additional power:
The group supported a separate measure to permit nurse practitioners and some other non-physicians to perform first-trimester abortions, which lawmakers passed and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown last week.
So in California, nurse practitioners are apparently not sufficiently qualified to provide basic care on their own—but when it comes to abortion, the more, the merrier! This is the kind of politics we’ve come to expect from a state that bans foie gras and builds fast trains to nowhere while neglecting basics like educating kids, shoring up health care, balancing the books, and enforcing the law.
[Glove image courtesy of Shutterstock