Thesis

The Effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Access to Care

The goal of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) was to reduce barriers in access to care. Specifically, it was aimed at reducing the exorbitant costs of medical care, which prohibit many Americans from obtaining routine care. This study systematically reviews 20 peer reviewed articles that were selected based on whether they compared access to care data before and after the ACAs implementation. A review of the literature reveals that the ACA's provisions which include Medicaid expansion and regulation that prohibits insurance carriers from denying care to subscribers with pre-existing conditions has indeed lowered the number of uninsured and increased access to care. From increasing access to primary care among the general population to ameliorating inequalities among socioeconomically disadvantage groups, the ACA has significantly increased American's access to healthcare. However, the study also finds that there are still gaps in coverage within subgroups of the Hispanic/Latino population, and this can be attributed to variances in citizenship status and comprehension of the English language. While access to coverage has increased, additional research is required on the number of providers who are accepting Medicaid or have terminated their contract with Medicaid due to its low reimbursement rates and the influx of Medicaid beneficiaries.

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