SACRAMENTO — As the state moves to expand healthcare coverage to millions of Californians under President Obama’s healthcare law, it faces a major obstacle: There aren’t enough doctors to treat a crush of newly insured patients.
Some lawmakers want to fill the gap by redefining who can provide healthcare.
They are working on proposals that would allow physician assistants to treat more patients and nurse practitioners to set up independent practices. Pharmacists and optometrists could act as primary care providers, diagnosing and managing some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and high-blood pressure.
“We’re going to be mandating that every single person in this state have insurance,” said state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chairman of the Senate Health Committee and leader of the effort to expand professional boundaries. “What good is it if they are going to have a health insurance card but no access to doctors?”
Doctors say giving non-physicians more authority and autonomy could jeopardize patient safety. It could also drive up costs, because those workers, who have less medical education and training, tend to order more tests and prescribe more antibiotics, they said.
[Calif. Sec. Health Diane Dooley] offered a more blunt assessment. “We’re going to have to provide care at lower levels,” …. “I think a lot of people are trained to do work that our licenses don’t allow them to.”
Hey, it’s got to happen, so it will. I’ve no particular problem with accepting economic reality, but it is annoying to see the inevitable happen despite the disingenuous promises of Obama and his cohorts and the blind stupidity of Dollar Bill. We were promised change for the better; reality demands health care dispensed by the DMV.
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. H. L. Mencken