Key Challenges to Affordable Care Act’s Implementation

Politic365.com: By Dr. Gary Puckrein, 10/16/12.

Key Challenges to Affordable Care Act’s Implementation

Several months have passed since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality.  Hundreds of thousands of uninsured Americans are now eligible to receive coverage starting in the year 2014.  While this is an extraordinary step in the right direction, meeting the expanded coverage requirement will be difficult and expensive.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Obama continue to spar over the implementation of the healthcare law – particularly the way to handle the broken Medicare system.  This debate concerns everyone because it will affect the quality of care patients can receive.

The New York Times recently reported that the medical community is concerned it will be understaffed to handle an influx of newly insured patients. While more students than ever are attending medical school, the rate of new doctors entering the health care market is too slow to meet the expanded coverage requirements.  In 2014, the number of patients seeking medical help will outstrip the number of capable and qualified physicians.

To address this looming problem, the Obama administration plans to spend $300 million over 3 ½ years to boost Medicaid payments rates and entice doctors to accept more patients.  But lawmakers will also need to get creative about how best to address expanded coverage.  According to the Times, potential solutions might include more walk-in clinics, expanding nurses’ responsibilities and encouraging doctors to work in teams. Read more