Am in training currently to be an NP. I don’t purport to be a physician, and I don’t ever want to be one. But many NP’s are in practice now and doing a fine job ...they are in arrangements where they consult on the hard cases with an on-site a physician, depending on the state regulations. The ones I’ve trained with have huge patient loads.
NP’s really can treat the everyday stuff — ear infections, colds, sore throats, etc. They function as physician extenders ....but ALL of them charge the SAME rate as a physician under “incident to” billing — the doc gets paid, and then doles out payment to the NP as his employee. In all honesty, this is charging society the same amount of money for care given by people with very different qualifications.
Perhaps if they just did away with all supervision of NP’s and just allowed NP’s to charge at their own rates, a true free market situation could evolve. You want to see a doc? You pay for it ....you feel an NP could handle it ...enjoy the lesser costs.
Not all NP’s are equal, and neither are all docs. With anything else, you do your research and go with whom best meets your individual needs. But, I’m sure Obamacare will take all of that great choice away and we’ll just be left with whomever is still standing.