California doesn't have enough doctors.
By 2025, the state will be short about 4,700 primary-care physicians, according to a recent report from the UC San Francisco Healthforce Center. This will result in more people turning to costly emergency-room visits for routine care, it predicts.
One solution is to expand the role of well-trained nurse practitioners, who can meet the basic healthcare needs of our growing population at a fraction of the cost of doctor visits. That’s what many other states are doing.
But this obvious remedy is opposed by a powerful interest — doctors. As a result, the Legislature has repeatedly failed to give greater independence to nurse practitioners, or NPs for short.
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