The Health Wonk Shop: Primary Care Check Up: Why It Can Be Hard to Get an Appointment and How to Fix It


Primary care has historically served as the backbone of our nation’s health care system, with patients often maintaining a relationship with a primary-care provider to guide their care over a period of years. Yet, the U.S. emphasizes primary care less than other high-income countries. And a shortage of primary-care providers and changes in the marketplace pose significant challenges for many patients seeking to access primary care, with implications for the nation’s health and health costs.

On Wednesday, April 3 a panel of primary-care experts joined Larry Levitt, KFF’s executive vice president for health policy, for a 45-minute discussion on the current state of primary care in the country, including the extent of the shortage, how it varies geographically and for different populations, the impact on people’s health, and what can be done to address it.


  • Larry Levitt, Executive Vice President for Health Policy, KFF


  • Asaf Bitton, MD, Executive Director, Ariadne Labs; Associate Professor of Medicine and Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Candice Chen, MD, Associate Professor, The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health
  • Erin Ney, MD, Expert Partner, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Bain & Company
  • Yalda Jabbarpour, MD, Director, Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies; Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Georgetown University

KFF’s virtual Health Wonk Shop series features in-depth policy discussions with experts that go beyond the news headlines to provide greater insights.

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