It makes sense to increase the supply of health care given the fact that Obamacare focuses so much on increasing demand for health services (in large part because of Medicaid expansion, as explained here by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors).

Yesterday’s event put on by Carolina Partnership for Reform honed in on this talking point. And just one way to meet the growing demand for health care services in North Carolina is to grant nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses full practice authority. In other words, allow them to practice within the full scope of their training without physician oversight when it comes to prescribing medications or ordering diagnostic tests.

There have been multiple attempts to pass such legislation in prior years, supported by evidence that a policy change won’t compromise quality patient care.

Last year, Chris Conover, a Duke University research scholar, published an in-depth report on the economic benefits and overall health care savings that would result if North Carolina were to grant mid-level providers full practice authority. Moreover, the likely increase in the number of mid-level providers would help mitigate the current primary care and specialist physician shortage.

Some of the economic benefits are as follows:

  • A minimum of 3,800 new jobs, with an upper bound of 7,128
  • An annual increase in economic output of at least $477 million (possibly up to $883 million)
  •  Annual health system cost savings ranging from $433 million to $4.3 billion.