Can our medical system keep up with the five million additional Californians eligible and required to buy health insurance next year? California State Senator Ed Hernandez says it won’t and is proposing nurse practitioners, optometrists and pharmacists should be able to diagnose, treat and manage some illnesses for the growing number of people eligible for health insurance through Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
In a Google+ hangout with FOX40, Hernandez said that with, “the current workforce we have now, we are barely meeting the demand for primary care physicians.” To add to the problem, he says one third of physicians in this state are over 65.
He said his critics believe his proposals will create a two-tier system, but Hernandez said we already have one. He said, “We have a distribution problem where few of them [doctors] go to rural or more importantly intercity or communitites of color.”
A majority (5 vs. 1 with one undecided vote) of Google+ hangout viewers supported his proposals. Anthony White was one who opposed it, and questioned who would oversee those with expanded medical roles. Hernandez said, “There will and always needs to be accountability,” and said each group would be held liable by their respective boards.
Opposing groups argue the groups simply aren’t trained enough. Viewer Kempton Lam was supportive of the senator’s proposal but also questioned if there was a risk of the medical personal not being qualified. Hernandez says this is not the case and says non-medical doctors like optometrists, pediatrist dentists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners all have four years of an undergrad degree in some type of science, four years of postgraduate work and independent boards that oversee them to ensure that public safety is a priority.
He added, “what we’re going to allow them to do is within their training.”
To view the full hangout with State Senator Ed Hernandez, watch the video on FOX40′s YouTube page.