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Wonkbook: Doctors for higher healthcare costs

The Washington Post, August 16, 2013

A crucial change in the health-care conversation over the last few years has been the shift in focus from "costs" to "prices." Everyone knows American health care costs too much. But after the release of the International Federation of Health Plans' data and Steven Brill's epic Time article and the New York Times' massive price series, it's also becoming common knowledge that a major cause of those high overall costs is sky-high prices for every individual service, drug, and treatment. Identifying the problem is easy. Doing anything about it is hard. But there's one thing states can do that isn't particularly hard: Allow more nurse practitioners — who charge much less than doctors — to treat patients directly, without a physician's oversight.