The Affordable Care Act, And The California Health Policy Forum

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Background and Significance One of the goals of Healthy People 2020 is to increase access to health care, specifically through reducing “the proportion of persons who are unable to obtain or delay in obtaining necessary medical care” (Healthy People 2020) from 4.7 percent to 4.2 percent. The Center for Medicare Advocacy, and the California Health Policy Forum, have both identified race and ethnicity as key components of healthcare disparity. Defined as “a difference in which disadvantaged social groups such as the poor, racial/ethnic minorities, women and other groups who have persistently experienced social disadvantage or discrimination systematically experience worse health or greater health risks than more advantaged social groups,” (Center for Medicare Advocacy) policies to protect this population are non-specific. The Affordable Care Act was designed to provide coverage to many who have experienced healthcare disparity. However, providing coverage is only half of the equation, ensuring this population has somewhere to go to seek emergency and non-emergency care is the other component. Many medically underserved communities throughout California and the greater United States are experiencing the loss of small community acute care hospitals, which also provide Emergency Department (ED) access. Closures are occurring in rural, suburban, and urban environments whereby depriving residents of access and/or timely access to ED healthcare services. In their health

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