Health Care Providers See Uncertain Benefits in New Health Reform Law
Hospitals and physicians in California and across the nation are speculating about the possible impact of the new national health reform law, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Supporters of the reform law predict that it will reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments because more residents will have health insurance coverage and regular access to medical care.
However, some hospital executives note that many current ED visitors have insurance but are too sick or impatient to wait for an appointment.
The reform law also will expand eligibility for Medicaid programs, such as Medi-Cal in California. Since Medicaid reimburses providers at lower rates than private insurers, hospitals could face increased pressure to treat patients at the lowest cost per case.
Experts say the Medicaid expansion might compel some hospitals to continue pursuing greater care standardization and other measures aimed at boosting cost efficiency.
In addition, community health centers are gearing up for an influx of newly insured patients. The reform law provides $11 billion in capital improvement funds over five years to help such clinics expand their services (Girion, Los Angeles Times, 4/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.