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According to the Bureau of Health's Workforce Health Resources and Services Administration, there are almost 253 million people who do not have adequate access to healthcare in the United States. While innovations in technology, drug manufacturing, and procedures will continue to make healthcare more affordable and more accessible, policies restricting doctors' and nurses' abilities to practice healthcare are creating barriers that prevent them from utilizing existing technology to reduce healthcare shortages in underserved areas. The underserved populations in America include rural communities, Native Americans, and linguistic minority groups. Many of today's healthcare policy suggestions aim at increasing health insurance coverage but we suggest innovative healthcare delivery options to increase access to care and decrease the cost of care: decreasing the restrictions on telehealth services, allowing nurse practitioners and physicians assistants full scope of practice, and decreasing the difficulties that international medical graduates face when seeking residencies and U.S. licensing. We explore and synthesize contemporary research that suggests the safety and effectiveness of each of these proposed solutions. The general finding of our paper is that regulatory reforms, some of which have been temporarily implemented and proven successful during the pandemic, offer a low-cost, low-risk means of improving the accessibility and affordability of healthcare services for those who need it most.


Utah State University

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Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Expanding Healthcare to Underserved Communities

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Economics Commons