I have addressed -- in the context of medical malpractice claims -- the importance of changing the reimbursement system to provide better compensation for primary care doctors. "The first line of defense in proper patient care is the primary care system, yet this portion of health care delivery is systematically undercompensated and undervalued in the medical payment spectrum. We have relegated primary care doctors to a triage function, requiring them to see a large number of patients in a short period of time."
Here's another reason. A story in today's Boston Globe by Liz Kowalcyzk cites a study of crowding and overuse of emergency rooms in Massachusetts. Dr. Peter Smulowitz, the study's author and an emergency room physician at BIDMC, concludes that the problem stems at least in part from the same problem: "We have to pay primary care doctors what they're worth and increase the network for primary care from doctors and other providers."