Medical Student Perspectives: A Commentary on Health Care Reform Law
As medical students, our busy schedules often make it difficult to remain informed about changing social and political issues. However, the magnitude and importance of some developments require our utmost attention. The new health care reform law is one such crucial issue.
In March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law. It was amended shortly after through the reconciliation process and the final version is now referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many of the components of this law have already taken effect and the rest are on the way through 2014 and beyond. Whether one agrees or disagrees with any or all parts of the act, the undeniable fact is that, as future physicians, the consequences of this law will have a great impact on the way we will practice medicine and how our patients will access health care services. Thus, it is important for us to be fully acquainted with the new law, not only because of its effects on our future practice, but because of our obligation to educate and assist our patients in accessing the health care services they need. In the politically-charged media we all are exposed to, it is often difficult to find the unadulterated facts about health care reform. Even now, almost one year after enactment of the ACA, a large percentage of medical students are unfamiliar with the major provisions of this law and unaware of the various sources of information available to them. Therefore, the Council of Student Members (CSM) of the American College of Physicians (ACP) decided to outline the major provisions of the ACA in this guide which is designed specifically for medical students. This guide will also provide various sources, which the authors believe deliver unbiased information regarding the law.
Although this guide is mainly focused on facts, it is important to note that any opinions expressed or implied belong solely to the authors and in no way represent the position of the ACP or the CSM as a whole. Additionally, the actual law is close to 1,000 pages so in order to create a practical guide we have only included what we believe to be the major provisions of this law and in no way shall this guide be interpreted as an exhaustible list of all provisions and sources. We encourage all readers, especially medical students, to use the provided and other available resources to learn more about the details of this law.
Continue reading the Medical Student Guide to Health Care Reform Law.
Read ACP's State of the Nation's Health Care 2011.
Amirala S. Pasha
Council of Student Members, New England Region Representative,
University of New England, College of Osteopathic Medicine, 2012
Council of Student Members, Southwestern Region Representative
University of New Mexico, 2011