Hcs 235 Health Care Utilization Paper

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Health Care Utilization HCS235

Health Care Utilization

HCS 235
October 30, 2012

Health Care Utilization
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law March 23, 2010 by President Barack Obama; however, the constitutionality of the law remained in question. In a controversial 5-to-4 ruling, The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law on June 28, 2012. The ACA is thought by some as the United States health care rescue, and as its downfall by others. It is estimated that the ACA will provide new services to 64 million Americans, providing health care coverage to 32 million previously uninsured. In addition to providing new health insurance coverage, the ACA implemented several components that can expand access to health care. One policy change will allow single adults, who are in school to remain on their parents’ insurance until they are 26. Another policy prevents denying children health insurance due to pre-existing conditions, this same protection will be provided to adults beginning in 2014. Rural communities are now expected to have greater access to health care as a result of increased payments for physicians willing to relocate. Additionally, the National Health Service Corps expanded to provide more health care providers to underserved areas. Community health centers are also expanding to provide care to those with little or no income. As an incentive the government is also offering tax credits to small business owners in order to make health coverage more affordable for their employees. One aspect of the ACA covers preventative care services without out-of pocket expenses through co-payment, co-insurance, or deductibles. The aim is to decrease health care cost through prevention, early treatment, and detection. Examples include mammograms, colonoscopies, cervical cancer screening, HIV testing, well woman visits, obesity screening and counseling, and immunizations (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). If the American public has access to these services it may be possible to avoid the costly tests and treatments that these conditions require. The aim of the ACA is to provide affordable health care to all Americans, but it still leaves some issues unaddressed that will impact the access to health care. Covino (n.d.), “Though the intentions of the legislation are good, the Affordable Care Act does little to improve the actual health care delivery system” (para.1, page 2). According to the American Medical Association, we are facing an increasing Physician shortage. As of 2010 we faced a shortfall of 13,700 physicians, the estimate is that number will increase to 62,900 by 2015, 91,500 by 2020, and 130,600 by 2025 (Krupa, n.d.), with primary care taking the largest impact. Health Care coverage will be of no benefit if there are no doctors to treat the patients. An example of this occurred in 2002 when Thailand’s’ “30 Bhat Scheme” added (CNN n.d.) “14 million people to the country’s health care system, resulting in long waits and subpar service” (Your health is covered, but who is going to treat you?) Several factors contribute to the physician shortage. Many physicians are reaching the age of retirement, the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates nearly 15 million physicians will be eligible for Medicare in the coming years (CNN n.d.). The increasing cost of malpractice insurance also deters many from pursuing a career in medicine, and is forcing some doctors to retire. Also contributing to the physician shortage is a lack of spots in residency programs. “In 2011, more than 7,000 were left with degrees that said "M.D." but no place to continue their education, according to the National Residency Matching Program” (CNN n.d). A bill currently before Senate would increase residency programs by 15% nationwide, but that is not enough to meet the shortage. Nor will it be in effect in time to accommodate the 32 additional Americans being added to the health care system. The physicians...
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