In an earlier post I noted that the $29 camp physicals being offered by Target and hailed as "effective, affordable, and convenient" by economics professor Mark Perry involve being seen by "a physician assistant or a licensed nurse practitioner."
It turns out that's not just a free-market solution to the problem of how to reduce health care costs. Time magazine reports: "In the recently released House health-reform bill, nurse practitioners (and physician's assistants, another relatively new, but smaller, category of medical professionals who can perform medical procedures and often prescribe medication) are listed alongside doctors as primary-care providers."
At least with the Target program, customers have the choice of being seen by a p.a. or nurse practioner at Target or paying more to be be seen by a real doctor somewhere else. Who knows whether under Obama-care, patients will have those choices, or whether, as the Time article predicts, a shortage of primary-care doctors will leave nurses to fill the gap.