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Analysis in Brief

Each online issue of Analysis in Brief (AIB) tackles an academic medicine research topic, and presents a two-page, easy-to-read snapshot of the AAMC’s data collection and research activities. Topics are selected through a peer-review process and support the association’s strategic research agenda.  The reports not only present data, but also provide context on the issues, interpretation of results and trends, and discussion of the policy and practical implications of the results—all of which may help to facilitate institutional and policy improvements at medical schools and teaching hospitals.

In addition to the latest issue highlighted here, you can access the Analysis in Brief archives and download the free PDF reports.


The Consumer Perspective on Access to Health Care: Pre- and Post- Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has provided significant health insurance reforms. In January 2014, health insurance exchanges were established, Medicaid coverage was officially expanded in most states, and individuals were required to obtain health insurance coverage, resulting in a great number of people gaining health insurance coverage. While health insurance is a major driver of health care access, there are additional factors that influence consumer access to care. This Analysis in Brief reports on how consumers’ access to health care has changed in the period leading up to and following the implementation of Medicaid expansion and insurance exchanges,  and examines the variations in access to care that persist. Results show that at least one in seven survey respondents reported an inability to obtain needed care in the last 12 months. Subgroups that faced consistent barriers to access before the ACA continued to struggle to obtain health care. Survey results also show that respondents reported that “could not afford” and “could not find a provider” were the top two reasons for being unable to get care both pre- and post-implementation of Medicaid expansion and insurance exchanges. However, after expansion and exchange implementation, a smaller percentage of respondents were unable to get care because of cost and a greater percentage of respondents were unable to get care because of an inability to find a health care provider, reflecting a significant shift after these changes were introduced. Recent changes in U.S. health care policy were designed to increase consumers’ access to health care services, especially among low-and middle-income individuals. Although there is evidence that more Americans are getting health insurance, results suggest that no overall improvement in access to care has followed, at least in the short term.

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