This article considers a number of issues which might arise in formulating policy for new health occupations. Its particular focus is on nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants and their treatment under potential national health insurance arrangements. The development and expansion of these occupations are described, as is the evidence on their performance with respect to the quality of medical care provided, the impact on the cost of such care, and changes in access to care. We then discuss several issues which might arise in the context of national health insurance legislation, including reimbursement rates and methods, certification and licensure, training subsidies, deployment incentives, and compatibility with an increased supply of physicians.

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