Cathy Schoen, Susan L. Hayes, Pamela Riley, M.D.
C. Schoen, S. Hayes, and P. Riley, The Affordable Care Act’s New Tools and Resources to Improve Health and Care for Low-Income Families Across the Country The Commonwealth Fund, October 2013.
The Commonwealth Fund Scorecard on State Health System Performance for Low-Income Populations, 2013, finds wide gaps by income in access to care, quality of care received, and health outcomes in all states, and major differences between states in health system performance for people with below-average incomes. The Affordable Care Act provides state and local leaders with unprecedented opportunity along with new tools and resources to raise the standard for everyone and to begin to close the geographic and income divide. This issue brief reviews provisions of the law that have the potential to benefit low- and modest-income individuals, including those that expand health insurance coverage; strengthen primary care and improve care coordination; bolster the capacity of providers serving low-income communities; move toward greater accountability for the quality and cost of care; and invest in public health. It concludes by highlighting some of the challenges that lie ahead.