Primary Care

Will more family doctors improve health care?


Health care in America faces a paradox. The U.S. spends a trillion dollars a year on medical care, yet 40 million Americans lack health insurance, and rural and inner-city residents have trouble getting basic care. Many experts think the solution is to increase the number of lower-cost primary care providers, such as family doctors and nurse practitioners. Specialists argue that the quality of care would suffer as a result, and that their own high-tech procedures are the glory of American medicine. Their lobbying helped kill President Clinton's health-care reform bill last year. But as fast-growing health maintenance organizations strive to cut medical costs, the demand for more Marcus Welbys is increasing, and medical schools are scrambling to catch up.

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