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In the world of primary care medicine, cheaper alternatives to physicians — most notably nurse practitioners — themselves have a significant level of training. In a growing number of states, nurse practitioners are being allowed to practice independently rather than, as traditionally has been the case, under the supervision of a physician. However, that there really are significant differences in training between physicians and nurse practitioners. Read more»

Since shortages of critical drugs became a fixture of the American medical landscape a decade ago, pundits have proposed an array of incentives to encourage more production from pharmaceutical companies. But an obvious alternative or supplement — having the government manufacture the drugs — appears not to have made it to anyone’s list. Why not? Read more»

Matt Davies applauds how the Affordable Care Act has opened a door for millions of people. But, he says, it hasn’t gotten them all the way. Read more»

According to N. Gregory Mankiw, writing in The New York Times, economists need to honor the principle “first, do no harm” when offering policy prescriptions. That principle, to Mankiw, translates into the following: “when people have voluntarily agreed upon an economic arrangement to their mutual benefit, that arrangement should be respected.” Read more»

Lake Powell, the huge reservoir that straddles the border of Arizona and Utah, has lost half of its water since 1999 because of drought and human water use. The drop in water levels is evidenced by the pale pink 'bathtub rings' along the canyon’s iconic sandstone walls.

When it comes to water in America, this truth is self-evident: We are guzzlers from sea to shining sea. Nowhere, though, are the effects of our thirst as visible and self-destructive as they are in the Southwest, the fastest-growing and driest region of the country, where just one long and lonely river, the Colorado, must slake the needs of seven states. Read more»

A study released earlier this week by the American Farm Bureau Federation on the impact of various types of immigration reform on the agricultural sector wants the reader to conclude that an enforcement-only approach to immigration would mean economic disaster. But the agricultural industry only survives in its current form thanks to massive (albeit invisible) subsidy from a work force that cannot be described as free, Read more»

There are currently more than 30 million adults in the United States whose ability to read, write, and do basic math is at or below the level of the average third grader. Read more»

Many Republicans insist that the country has gone terribly off track. When, Matt Davies wonders, do they think the derailing occurred? And what would be more to their liking? Read more»

Americans may be poorly educated relative to some international comparators, but a “skills gap” doesn’t explain the predicament of the barista in this week’s editorial cartoon from Matt Davies. Read more»

Cartoonist Matt Davies turns his attention to the narrow way in which national security is evaluated and marvels at how much is looked at without being seen. Read more»

In the Barack Obama and Bill Clinton version of the Democratic Party, the goals is to have “conversations about race.” Once upon a time, those in favor of civil rights (as Obama and Clinton surely are) were more direct: they demanded action, not talk. Action is what we need now. Read more»

According to Matt Davies, people don’t sufficiently appreciate the GOP’s artistic side. It’s frequently deployed when boring old facts don’t support the party’s position. Read more»

What's more important to Republicans: cutting the deficit or boosting military spending? Read more»

If American corporations are, as the Supreme Court ruled in 2010, citizens entitled to free speech and other rights from the nation, what corresponding obligations to the nation do these corporations have? Read more»

When it comes to debt, count on politicians to "think of the children." Read more»

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