(RxWiki News) The new Affordable Care Act intends to make healthcare more accessible and affordable.
Two methods by which the act will implement change are 1) to provide incentives for clinicians to provide care in underserved areas, and 2) to make the insurance marketplace more transparent and requiring insurers to use premium dollars on care.
Two major problems that the US healthcare market faces are shortages in primary healthcare services and an increasing debt burden on those who provide the healthcare. The National Health Service Corps's (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program attempts to address these problems simultaneously. The NHSC program provides healthcare practitioners up to $60,000 to repay loans in exchange for two years of service in underserved areas.
With $290 million in additional aid from the Affordable Care Act, NHSC Director Rebecca Spitzgo expects that by the end of the 2011 fiscal year, "over 10,800 clinicians will be caring for more than 11 million people, more than tripling the National Health Service Corps since 2008." Spitzgo adds that by 2015 the NHSC will support more than 16,000 primary care professionals. She attributes this increase in support to funding from sources such as the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act also places new regulations on health insurers through the "medical loss ration" provision. The provision requires that 80 to 85 percent of premium dollars goes to direct care and improvements of care quality.
As of now, health insurance companies spend a large portion of premiums on administrative costs, executive salaries, overhead and marketing. With the passing of the Affordable Care Act, upwards of 74.8 million insured Americans will be protected. Additionally, the medical loss provision will likely reward rebates worth $1.4 billion to nearly 9 million Americans starting in 2012.
According to Jay Angoff, Director of the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at HHS, these new rules will make health insurance fairer now "as we build a bridge to 2014, when better, more affordable options are available to consumers."
Through creating both incentives and regulations, the Affordable Care Act will likely make affordable healthcare a reality for many more Americans.