How to Make Health Care More Affordable: New at Reason

Not all solutions to health care access involve more government intervention. Some involve less.

A. Barton Hinkle writes:

Virginia's new Democratic governor, and its new class of Democratic lawmakers, have an opportunity to improve access to health care in Virginia. But to do so, they might have to go against their partisan instincts.

Gov. Ralph Northam already has made Medicaid expansion one of his top priorities. Republicans don't like the idea. But their recent abandonment of divisive social causes such as abortion and anti-LGBT issues suggests they might be more receptive to compromise on Medicaid as well.

Then again, maybe not. Regardless, Democrats and Republicans should be able to find common ground on two other approaches to expanding health care.

The first is a bill from Republican Del. Roxann Robinson. HB 793 would let nurse practitioners practice medicine independently, rather than under the thumb of a supervising physician, after a probationary period of supervision.

At present, nurse practitioners in Virginia must have a contract to work under a doctor's watchful eye. If a nurse can't find a doctor to agree to such an agreement, the nurse is out of luck. If a doctor retires or dies, the nurse is out of luck. If a doctor joins a group practice with restrictive rules, the nurse is out of luck again.

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