The End of Frontier Medicine in California

Why Obamacare Can’t Save the Health Clinic I Built in Western Sierra County

The End of Frontier Medicine in California

Thirty-eight years ago, a young nurse practitioner, who was a veteran of the Air Force and the Army, moved his family from Denver to Downieville, California, the Sierra County seat, to volunteer for the National Health Service Corps. The village was founded during the gold rush—in 1851, its population peaked at 5,000—but by the time we arrived, there were only about 500 residents in Downieville and 1,200 in the immediate surrounding area.

On my first night in town, I was hooking up the television for my children and by sheer …

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