In early November, a seminal change was finally brought onward by the Department of Health and Human Services. Many felt this reform had spent too long a time in the making and also that it was long overdue. This measure finally brought about higher compensation payments for primary healthcare facilities, which attend to the healthcare needs of people insured via Medicaid. The change was announced today, within the discussions regarding the Affordable Care Act, but will only come into force on January 1, 2013. The payment rates will be gradually increased, until the end of the year 2014.
The main goal of this reform is to make sure that doctors who treat Medicare and Medicaid-insured patients receive the same amounts in financial compensation as those who treat privately insured patients. At the same time, the current reform also vies to keep Medicaid state-run programs at the same levels of costs they are being faced with right now. This reform was in order, since Medicaid’s expansion has been announced for a long time now. According to this expansion program, Medicaid will receive an infusion of new patients, whose numbers are in the millions – seven millions, according to estimates issued by the Congressional Budget Office. This expansion will begin in 2014, when a large number of people is expected to subscribe to Medicaid, as well as to the Children’s Health Insurance program. This move is also a part of the Affordable Health Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act does overlook certain pivotal aspects of access to health care for all, such as equal stipends for nurse-run clinics. The main difference between primary health care facilities and nurse-run facilities is that, while the former focus on acute treatment, the latter are more concerned with educating people on health issues, teaching them how to care for themselves, and ensuring that sufferers of chronic disease get equal access to quality care. Nurses, such as those who obtain their certification online, via nursingdegree.org, are skilled professionals, who are always there to see patients before they reach the hands of a doctor proper. As such, it is biased and ineffective to assume that nurse-run clinics will provide less relevant care for patients – especially for those in financially challenged communities.
Last, but not least, it’s important to note that the ultimate fate of ACA (a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act) heavily depends on the result of the United States’ Presidential Election. At the time this article was written, the jury was still out – come November 6, however, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has stated that he would do away with ACA, would he get elected.