A healthcare expert says California's shortage of doctors isn't
just a problem in the state; it's proof of the flaws of
Since California is facing a shortage of doctors, lawmakers want
to allow non-physicians to treat patients. Proposals to allow nurse
practitioners to set up their own practices and to let physician
assistants treat even more patients are currently in the works.
The Sacramento Bee notes that under the
proposals, pharmacists and optometrists could be primary-care
providers and could diagnose and oversee chronically ill patients.
Currently, 16 of the state's 58 counties have the full number of
doctors required by the federal government. But nearly 30 percent
of California doctors are nearing retirement -- the highest number
in the country.
Sally Pipes of the Pacific
Research Institute (PRI) does not think this plan will prove
"I think that this is very short-sighted; there are some things
that physician assistants … and nurse practitioners [can do],"
Pipes notes. "I think one of the most important points is that
under the federal legislation, ObamaCare, there's not just going to
be a shortage of doctors in California; there's going to be a
shortage of doctors around the country."
While the state's Health and Human Services agency says
expanding healthcare roles to non-physicians creates the
possibility of meeting the federal government's required number of
doctors, Governor Jerry Brown has not taken a position on the