Monday, January 10, 2011

How health reform improves access to primary care

Much of the attention on national health reform focuses on regulation of insurance companies and the 2014 requirement to buy health coverage. But the Affordable Care Act will also make primary care far more accessible by measures such as training new providers, ensuring preventive care is covered and bolstering community health centers, The Commonwealth Fund notes in an issue brief released last week. Among the report’s findings:
  • Fifty million Medicare beneficiaries in 2011 will have free access to currently covered preventive services, such as high-blood-pressure screening, alcohol misuse counseling, and colon cancer screening.
  • The Affordable Care Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the so-called stimulus package) will together support the training of more than 16,000 new primary care providers over the next five years.
  • The capacity of community health centers will double, serving 15 million to 20 million more people by 2015, to help meet the demand of the newly insured.

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