While the country continues to divide over the constitutionality of ‘Obamacare,’ an all too unavoidable problem remains: in spite of increasing numbers of health care participants, there is a developing shortage of primary care physicians.
Under the not-so ‘Affordable Care Act,’ 2.2 million people will be added to Medicaid. The American Medical Association estimates a national shortage of 100,000 primary care physicians in the next 10 years. In Texas alone, the shortage will be 10,000. By 2025, it is estimated that the deficit of physicians could reach as high at 35,000-44,000.
Texas’ bipartisan efforts in the upcoming legislative session are aimed at allowing advanced nurse practitioners to practice to the extent of
their certification. An advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) is a registered nurse with an advanced degree, certification, and license to practice as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse anesthetist.
In 18 states, ANPs are allowed to practice medicine independently of primary care providers. Another 17 states permit ANPs to practice with more autonomy. Texas hinders effective healthcare by putting regulations on ANPs and thereby limits patient access to affordable, quality healthcare. The Texas Medical Association wants to keep said regulations to reserve profits for physicians.
Passing legislation to empower ANPs will dramatically reduce the costs of healthcare as ANPs cost at least 10% less than primary care physicians.
Representative Wayne Christian pressed HB 915 during the 82nd Legislative session, which would have saved the state close to a billion dollars this biennium alone. As a state with a history of committing to maintaining fiscal responsibility, Texas should pave the way for the rest of the nation in finding bipartisan solutions in the presence of a fiscal cliff. If America is going to be stuck with ‘Obamacare,’ states need to come together in bipartisan support to find cost-cutting ways to make the best out of a bad situation.