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Read 10ideas for Health Care

Monday, July 26, 2010

10ideas for Health Care 2010

The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network is pleased to present the second volume of the 10ideas series.  We are proud to nominate "Increasing Family Physicians in America" by Ankit Agarwal for Policy Idea of the Year.


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Policy of the Year

The recent health care bill promises to drastically revamp and improve our healthcare system. However, there are still plenty of areas that need to be addressed for the sake of America’s long-term health and fiscal sustainability. This year’s nominee for best policy idea in the Health Care policy center for Best Policy Idea contends that the dearth of family physicians in many parts of the country, because it results in higher cost and lower quality of medical care for patients, is one such issue.
Currently, family medicine practitioners make up 20% of US physicians. In contrast, most highly industrialized countries have close to double that percent. Correcting that disparity has the potential to vastly improve primary care and reduce overall health costs. Ankit Agarwal from Boston University contends that the solution to increasing the number of family physicians in the United States is twofold. The United States should change visa laws to make it easier for international medical graduates to pursue family medicine residencies in the United States and the United States should re-allocate Medicare spending to better reimbursement rates for family practice services. Both of these changes would increase access to quality medical care in a budget-neutral way.
Even after the current health care overhaul comes into effect, ballooning health care costs will still pose a massive problem. Though no one knows for certain how to bend back the cost curve most effectively, rebalancing our health care providers between family practice and specialists is a promising step in that direction.