Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The ACA and Community Health Centers

In March of 2010 Congress passed, and the president signed, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Provisions of the ACA reform the health insurance industry and expand coverage to more Americans. However, with this change, there will be an increased need for community health care centers and a well-trained health care workforce. A new issue brief by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured addresses the opportunities and challenges presented by health reform for community health centers. The brief, Community Health Centers: Opportunities and Challenges of Health Reform, states that health reform is going to usher-in important changes to the American health care system and that community health centers will be central to providing care to millions of Americans, particularly those in underserved areas.

The brief is a useful tool for policymakers because it includes information on the way that provisions of the health care law intersect with the role of community health centers. This information is important in considering the opportunities for states that are available through the Affordable Care Act. For example, the ACA includes several provisions aimed at expanding the health care workforce in order to ensure that people have access to health care in addition to health insurance. Some of the strategies to accomplish this include increasing funding aimed at the National Health Services Corps and funding for community-based training programs. States considering new workforce development strategies that also have areas with health access concerns would certainly benefit from considering this opportunity.

Other intersections between the ACA and community health centers include:
  • Increased funding for health centers
  • Insurance expansion
  • Medicare payment reform
  • Delivery system reform
The brief includes detailed information on the way that community health centers will play a key role in these, as well as other, aspects of comprehensive health care.

For more on funding opportunities available through health reform.

For more on creating jobs through community health centers visit our Financing Community Change blog.