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 Event Summary

What if we could get more of our medical care from trained health care professionals who are not doctors, such as nurses and nurse practitioners? Would this drive down costs? On Thursday, AEI brought together a panel of experts to discuss this question.

Benedic N. Ippolito laid the groundwork for the discussion. He described how the US spends more money on health care relative to its peers, possibly because it has fewer physicians per people. Cindy Cooke argued that nurse practitioners already provide high-quality care to many patients but that arbitrary restrictions limit their ability to do so. She suggested that with an expanded scope of practice, nurse practitioners could help slow the progress of disease for some patients, which reduces costs in the future.

R. Shawn Martin agreed that inefficient regulations could be reformed. He also emphasized the importance of team-based, collaborative medicine that involves physicians, assistants, nurse practitioners, and others. The panel concluded with a discussion of the role for new innovations, such as telemedicine, in the future of health care.

–Nick Saffran

Event Description

One reason health care costs so much is because seeing a doctor is expensive. Seeing a doctor is expensive because becoming a doctor is expensive and time-consuming, and medical school weeds out all but the most determined and skilled.

But what if we could get more of our medical care from trained health care professionals who are not doctors, such as nurses and nurse practitioners? Do states’ “scope of practice” laws unnecessarily drive up health care costs and deny opportunity to nurses? Or are they needed to protect patients? Are common-sense consensus reforms available?

Join AEI as we bring together economists and medical professionals to discuss this issue of regulation, safety, and economic opportunity.

Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


11:45 AM

12:00 PM
Panel discussion

Cindy Cooke, American Association of Nurse Practitioners
Benedic N. Ippolito, AEI
R. Shawn Martin, American Academy of Family Physicians

Timothy P. Carney, AEI

1:00 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Nick Saffran at [email protected], 202.419.5218.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Timothy P. Carney is a visiting fellow at AEI, where he helps direct the Culture of Competition project, examining barriers to competition in all areas of American life, from the economy to the world of ideas. He has more than a decade of experience as a journalist covering the intersection of politics and economics. His work at AEI focuses on how to reinvigorate a competitive culture in America in which all can reap the benefits of the economy. Mr. Carney is the author of two books: “The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money” (John Wiley & Sons, 2007) and “Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses” (Regnery Publishing, 2009).

Cindy Cooke is the president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She completed her doctor of nursing practice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a focus on health literacy. She has a diploma in nursing from Mary Meek School of Nursing, a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a master of science in nursing from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She is an experienced nurse and nurse practitioner with national board certification as a family nurse practitioner. Dr. Cooke has provided primary care to patients for 18 years and, for more than 12 years, exclusively to active-duty and retired military members and their families.

Benedic N. Ippolito is a research fellow in economic policy studies at AEI, where his research is in public finance and health economics. His recent work has focused on the behavior of health care providers, price regulation, and health care financing. His research has been published in leading economics and health policy journals, including the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy and Health Affairs. Dr. Ippolito has a Ph.D. and an M.S. in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a B.A. in economics and mathematics from Emory University.

R. Shawn Martin is senior vice president of advocacy, practice advancement, and policy at the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). He is responsible for overseeing the AAFP Division of Government Relations and the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care in Washington, DC, as well as the Division of Practice Advancement at the AAFP headquarters in Leawood, Kansas. In this role, he directs legislative and private-sector advocacy on issues such as physician payment and medical liability reform.

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