Roughly 100 million Americans live in areas without enough primary care doctors. Nationwide, we’re short about 17,000 of them right now. By 2034, that number could jump to 48,000, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
To meet our country’s growing demand for care, we need to increase the supply of clinicians who can provide it. But that doesn’t mean just training more doctors. In fact, nurse practitioners and physician assistants could be delivering much more primary care but are prevented from doing so by government rules. We need to strip away this red tape that keeps patients underserved.
Nurse practitioners, for example, are highly trained. They typically hold master’s degrees and sometimes doctorates, as well as specialist training. They’re qualified to diagnose and treat patients, including prescribing medication.