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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, states around the country, including Arizona, temporarily removed harmful barriers on telehealth and the scope of practice of health care professionals to expand the capacity of health care providers to care for infected patients. Policymakers should make these reforms permanent and enact other reforms to strengthen Arizona’s capacity to address its long-term health care challenges. Together, this series of reforms makes up what Americans for Prosperity refers to as the Personal Option.
When it comes to health care, there is no one magic solution. Arizonans are desperate for increased access to quality, affordable health care. Arizona currently has a shortage of 560 primary care physicians and will require an additional 1,941 by the end of the decade due to factors like population increases, rising rates of chronic disease, and the aging of our existing population. Considering the circumstances, Arizona needs to approach this crisis with patients in mind, not the government, health care associations, hospital associations, or insurance companies who benefit from complex rules and regulations.
This legislative session, AFP Arizona is focusing on:
S.B. 1249 (International medical graduates; licensure)
H.B. 2043 (Physician assistants; supervision; collaboration)
Both of these bills would go a long way towards addressing the state’s doctor shortage and increasing medical access for Arizonans living in low-population density areas. Watch AFP-Arizona State Director Stephen Shadegg testify in favor of S.B. 1249.
However, despite the needs for more health care providers, industry special interests are focused on maintaining unworkable regulations because they protect their industry. The reason is simple—removing these layers of complexity would mean more competition and individual choice in health care. Even simple, yet effective solutions, like allowing professionally trained doctors from other countries to practice medicine is a threat to the health care racket. Regardless of the institutional hurdles, AFP-AZ is dedicated to transforming health care by creating a patient-centered environment—not a system designed for and by the companies and associations that benefit from regulatory capture.
AFP-AZ will continue to support improving health care across Arizona by allowing highly trained medical professionals to treat patients, expanding the scope of practice for medical professionals, and removing unnecessary restrictions that limit care. Join AFP-AZ in calling for these common sense reforms. Contact your lawmaker here and voice your support for personalizing health care for all Arizonans.
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