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Affordable Care Act: Improving Quality, Efficiency and Access to Health Care

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Improving the quality, efficiency and access to health care are important goals of The Affordable Care Act, which is currently being evaluated by the United States Supreme Court. The Act addresses the needs of America’s seniors by closing the “donut hole” Medicare coverage gap, which will save thousands of dollars in drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries.

In addition, health care practitioners will be incentivized to improve care by reducing preventable errors that could harm patients.

The Affordable Care Act seeks to improve access to quality health care by increasing services for Americans living in underserved areas of rural America, while also giving Americans options to finance long-term services and care in the wake of a disability.

With long-term care insurance options, workers can pay premiums in order to receive cash benefits should they develop a disability in the future. The benefit is flexible and can be used for many support services ranging from respite care to home care.

Taxpayer funds are not used to fund benefits pursuant to this program. And, a number of safeguards will be put in place to ensure that premiums are enough to cover the costs of this program. In fact, the program premium is projected to cut Medicaid spending, as patients are able to continue living in their homes rather than entering nursing homes.

In addition to improving access to health care, the Act also seeks to tackle fraud and waste by imposing disclosure requirements that identify high-risk insurance providers who have defrauded the American taxpayers. Also, states are afforded the flexibility to propose and analyze tort reforms that address reducing health care errors, improving access to liability insurance, and enhancing patient safety among other things.

In addition, the Act puts measures in place to end enormous overpayments to insurance companies that cost American taxpayers billions of dollars annually. As more Americans have health insurance pursuant to the Act, Medicare payments to hospitals to care for uninsured patients goes down. This is another cost savings for American taxpayers.

Transparency and integrity were issues that were also contemplated in the Act. By affording doctors access to cutting edge medical research, patients have more options from which to choose for their medical care. In addition, patients are empowered with information to make informed decisions that work best for them and their families.

The Act also incentivizes self-correction of errors, encourages innovative programs, and requires background checks for employees who provide direct care to patients, all in an effort to bring transparency to nursing homes to help families find the right place for their loved ones and to improve the overall quality of nursing home care.


Healthcare Law and You. www.healthcare.gov. Accessed 29 Mar. 2012. http://www.healthcare.gov/law/index.html

Know the Facts, Know Your Rights. www.healthcare.gov. Accessed 29 Mar. 2012. http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/12/increasing-transparency.html

Reviewed March 29, 2012
by MIchele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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