How Health Reform Will Boost Preventive Care

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<p>The Affordable Care Act, when fully implemented, will have a profound effect on health care in the United States. In a <a href="/publications/journal-article/2012/apr/preventive-health-services-under-affordable-care-act-role">new article published by Medscape</a>, Commonwealth Fund researchers focus on the role the law will have in increasing the use of preventive health services. </p><p>Survey research by the Fund shows that nonelderly adults without health insurance coverage are less likely to receive recommended preventive services and screening tests, including blood pressure and cholesterol checks, colon cancer screening, and mammography. The health reform law's expansions of insurance coverage to most of the U.S. population will significantly increase use of health screenings and other preventive services, the researchers say, primarily by reducing financial barriers and facilitating access to a regular provider or source of care. By 2016, an additional 6.2 million nonelderly adults will be up-to-date on preventive services just as a result of health reform's coverage expansions, the authors estimate. </p>
<p>Other provisions in the Affordable Care Act will further improve preventive care delivery by strengthening the nation's primary care infrastructure, most notably by incentivizing the development of "medical homes" that provide patients with enhanced access and care coordination services. The authors estimate that as many as an additional 3.6 million adults will be up-to-date on preventive services if medical homes become widespread. </p>
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