As a result of Obamacare and its expansion of coverage to millions, many states will begin to experience doctor shortages. California is dealing with this problem by redefining who is a “doctor.”
State lawmakers are working on legislation that would permit physician assistants and nurse practitioners to set up independent practices. Pharmacists and optometrists could now act as “primary care” providers.
These role changes will be common in the age of Obamacare, when even teachers will be “trained” to diagnose mental health and behavioral health problems in “school-based healthcare centers.”
As State Senator Ed Hernandez (D) says, “What good is it if they are going to have a health insurance card but no access to doctors?”
The solution, to those who support ObamaCare, is to permit more people to do what “doctors” have done in the past.
California’s Health and Human Services Agency secretary, Diana Dooley, states, “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.”
Beth Haney, president of the California Association for Nurse Practitioners, said, “We don’t have enough providers… so we should increase access to the ones that we have.”
Turf wars are becoming standard fare with Obamacare, as will questions of accountability. The big question, of course, is where does the buck stop when the government is in charge of healthcare?