Implementing National Health Reform in California: Opportunities for Improved Access to Care

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Marking the one-year anniversary of the enactment of the federal health reform legislation this month, Manatt Health Solutions and the California HealthCare Foundation have partnered to complete a second report in a series designed to highlight the wide-ranging health care implications for the state of California. The report "Implementing National Health Reform in California: Opportunities for Improved Access to Care," examines provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that invest in the health care delivery workforce and infrastructure and those that realign resources to enhance access to care.

The ACA provides the opportunity to increase health insurance coverage for Californians through the expansion of Medi-Cal and the establishment of health insurance exchanges. After the law is fully implemented in 2014, it is estimated that 92 percent of Californians will be insured. Broader coverage will increase demand for health care services, as the newly insured seek care, often with greater unmet needs requiring more intense interventions. With this in mind, the ACA includes provisions to enhance the capacity of the delivery system to meet this heightened demand, so that increased coverage translates into access to high quality, culturally competent care. This is crucial in California, where health care is unevenly distributed across the state’s vast geography, shortages exist among many providers and Medi-Cal participation among providers is already inadequate.

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