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Here’s an easy way to increase access to high-quality, affordable health care

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15.01.2020

Lusine Poghosyan is a professor of nursing at Columbia University. This is the fourth in a series of On Common Ground essays, a partnership between the Niskanen Center, a moderate think tank in Washington, and The Post Opinions section. Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Americans have witnessed fierce debates on health-care policy focused on various proposals, including Medicare-for-all. Whatever your take on such proposals, it’s important to remember that there are other ways to expand access to affordable health care. One promising idea — which wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime and may actually save money — is to expand the role of highly trained nurse practitioners in providing primary care.

Consider the fact that 6 in 10 American adults have a chronic disease, requiring frequent access to timely primary care services. As a consequence, the demand for such services has increased exponentially and will continue to grow. Unfortunately, the supply of primary care doctors isn’t keeping up with the demand. More than 50,000 additional physicians are needed by 2025 to meet projected needs, yet about 80 percent of internal medicine residents, including nearly two-thirds of primary care internal medicine residents, do not plan to have a career in primary care as other specialties are so much more lucrative.

As a health services researcher, I have spent more than a decade studying........

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