by Emily Greene | October 18, 2023

When it comes to Harrisburg politics, big government will always err on the side of control vs. freedom.  

When it comes to Harrisburg bureaucrats, they believe that capable health care professionals need a permission slip to practice their trade.

Despite a growing health care shortage across the nation, with its impact particularly hurting the commonwealth, Harrisburg remains reticent to hear legislation that would allow highly-qualified nurse practitioners to serve patients to the fullest extent of their training and expertise. In simpler terms: big government is telling expertly-trained health care professionals that they can’t fully do their jobs without physicians looking over their shoulder.

Policy and politics isn’t always black and white, but in the case of full practice authority for nurse practitioners, it’s clear: allowing NPs to practice to the fullest extent of their training, without government permission slips that take the form of lengthy physician collaborative agreements, would allow hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania patients quicker access to quality health care.

For years, qualified nurse practitioners have been advocating for the ability to work in underserved regions of the state without burdensome physician collaborative agreements. Last month, the Health Resources & Services Administration reported that there are over half a million people living in primary care Designated Health Professional Shortage Areas. 621,000 Pennsylvanians live in a Designated HPSA with limited access to primary care. These numbers should startle Harrisburg and inspire action—yet legislation to allow greater access to care has yet to be considered in the Senate, at the very least for a hearing.

What’s more, the idea of removing health care professionals from the grips of bureaucratic red tape enjoys significant bipartisan electoral support. Americans for Prosperity-PA recently released polling ahead of this week’s Care for PA Press Event at the Capitol that showed overwhelming enthusiasm for full practice authority for NPs. According to the polling commissioned between May 26th and June 3rd of this year, 84% of patients who saw a nurse practitioner were satisfied with the care that they received (compared to the 83% satisfaction rate reported by patients who saw a physician). Of the 700 Pennsylvanians surveyed, 57% believe that allowing full practice authority for nurse practitioners would have a “positive impact” on patients’ quality of care.

Pennsylvanians know that the idea of government-issued permission slips that allow professionals to do their jobs is an archaic thought. The issues that plague our society—such as health care shortages across the commonwealth—deserve transformative policy solutions. Senate Bill 25, full practice authority for NPs, will allow the free market to solve for these gaps. However, Senate leadership must act quickly and allow this legislation to be heard and debated.

Urge your Senator to ask that SB 25 be brought up for a hearing. Demand that Harrisburg allows for a Personal Option to care, giving you, the patient, more choice and personalization in your health care plan. Head to today to learn more, and fight back against big government’s control over your care.

This is Emily Greene, Deputy State Director with Americans for Prosperity-PA.