New Report: Affordable Care Act Will Make Primary Care a Priority

eAlert ea8a7245-ca66-4eb0-b508-89aa4037972f

<p>In addition to expanding access to affordable health insurance coverage, the Affordable Care Act has the potential to make a big impact on the availability and quality of primary care. In a new <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2011/jan/realizing-health-reforms-potential-how-affordable-care-act-will">issue brief</a> and <a href="/blog/2011/how-will-affordable-care-act-bolster-primary-care">blog post</a>, Commonwealth Fund experts show how health reform could strengthen a critical yet long-neglected component of the nation's health care system. </p>
<p>In <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2011/jan/realizing-health-reforms-potential-how-affordable-care-act-will">How the Affordable Care Act Will Strengthen Primary Care and Benefit Patients, Providers, and Payers</a>, part of a Commonwealth Fund series on realizing the potential of health reform, authors Melinda Abrams, Rachel Nuzum, Stephanie Mika, and Georgette Lawlor examine provisions in the legislation that aim to expand and train the primary care workforce, improve the way providers are reimbursed, give patients incentives to seek primary care services, and support medical homes and other innovative approaches to delivering care. Where possible, the brief provides estimates for the potential impact the reforms will have on patients, providers, and payers. For example, the authors find that: </p>
<li>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.  </li>
<li>Up to 40 million people in 2011 and 90 million by 2013 will no longer have to make a copayment for recommended preventive screenings, including cancer screenings.  </li>
<li>Nearly 40 million Medicaid enrollees in 2013 will have access to free preventive care services.  </li>
<li>In 2011, 50 million Medicare seniors will be eligible for free annual wellness check-ups and personalized prevention plans. </li>
<p>The authors note that if patients and physicians are to reap the benefits of a strong primary care system, it will be critical for these provisions to be implemented together at both the federal and state levels. Moreover, success will depend on effective coordination between Medicare and Medicaid, as well as between public and private payers. <br /><br />To read the other briefs in the series, visit the <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=F4EDA1AE78A944BEA80198B614439375&_z=z">Realizing Health Reform's Potential Web page</a>. <br /><br /><br /></p>