Universal coverage and primary care

Elissa Mummolo summarizes Massachusetts’ problem of adopting universal coverage before addressing physician access.

Waiving tuition for medical students who choose primary care is a good start.

However, there is a lag time of about 10 to 20 years before these changes take effect. Every medical school has to offer similar incentives, and it will take years for the attitudes of medical students to change.

Meanwhile, what do we do now? Baby Boomers are rapidly approaching Medicare age. The answer is to provide decisive financial incentives for new medical graduates to choose primary care, and to prevent the current crop of doctors from bailing to more lucrative endeavors.

Radically skewing the payment system towards cognitive services is the only solution that will provide short-term changes. By radical, I mean tripling or quadrupling the RVUs assigned for office visits at the expense of procedures.

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