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A partial solution to doctor crisis

To the editor:

As a follow-up to the August 1 story about shortages of primary care physicians in Minnesota, it should be pointed out that there is an untapped resource in our state and nation that can provide significant relief to the problem at hand. They are naturopathic doctors (or doctors of natural medicine).

NDs are licensed health care practitioners in Minnesota that have the same training, credit hours, clinical training, and board certification as medical doctors. Where there may be a distinction in treatment, there is certainly no distinction in quality of care. Both are valuable resources to a community, state, and nation that are struggling to meet its health care demand.

The problem? Despite specific language in the Affordable Care Act that mandates coverage, Minnesota insurers refuse to insure services of NDs.

The struggle of NDs to be insured is ongoing, but it strikes me as ironic that while studies and newspaper articles lament a shortage of licensed physicians, our insurers and elected officials turn their noses up to, at least, a partial solution.