ON RECENTLY hearing of three bills currently before Congress that define the primary physician, it was a surprise for me to understand that two of the three (those of Senator Kennedy and Representative Roy) define primary physicians as the general internist, the pediatrician, and the family practitioner. A more recent amendment to S3585, sponsored by Senator Beall, uses the same definition. On the other hand, Congressman Rogers's bill recognizes the traditional role of the obstetrician and gynecologist as the primary physician to a majority of the female population in the United States.
It is a fact that this discipline of medicine has accounted for a significant reduction in disease and death in women, through concentrated efforts in the areas of preventive medicine and public health. Prenatal care has been a major factor in decreasing maternal mortality from a level of 80/10,000 in 1930 to less than 3/10,000 at this time.
Pearson JW. The Obstetrician and GynecologistPrimary Physician for Women. JAMA. 1975;231(8):815–816. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240200013016