Congress is looking to narrow our nation’s doctor shortage. After introducing legislation that would reform our primary care system, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said last month , “Tens of millions of Americans live in communities where they cannot find a doctor while others have to wait months to be seen.”
The Vermont socialist is right. Too many people do struggle to find a doctor. But his preferred solution — spending tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to recruit and train more providers, among other things — is wasteful. Instead, policymakers should focus on relaxing regulations that needlessly limit the supply of care.
Consider scope-of-practice laws . In many states, these regulations prohibit nurse practitioners and physician assistants from practicing without the oversight of a physician or performing certain services, even if they’re trained to do so.