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Obamacare Sparks New Investment in Urban Health Clinics

Obamacare Sparks New Investment in Urban Health Clinics

Even with the Medicaid expansion that is a signature component of Obamacare, for low income Americans, accessing health care services will have its challenges. But thanks to a public-private partnership inspired by Obamacare, accessibility to health care clinics may no longer be one of them.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a $100 million fund has been established to build community centers near affordable housing as demand for primary-care services are expected to rise. The law includes approximately $10 billion for the creation of new, federally qualified health centers and addresses a key component of driving health care spending down: keeping people consistently well.

As critics on both the left and the right have rightly pointed out, increasing insurance coverage does not guarantee that those newly covered consumers will be able to see a doctor when they need to. The fund and its backers hope to change those odds by building federally qualified health centers that administer to low income patients alongside new and existing affordable housing.

Currently about 8000 centers already exist, but with the country already facing a shortage of primary care facilities, adding millions of more people to the insurance rolls will tax an already broken system unless new facilities come on board to help meet the demand.

This fund is not some hippie philanthropic project. Not it he least. The new fund will be backed by Morgan Stanley, and if Morgan Stanley is in on it, then there’s every reason to think Wall Street sees potential growth from a reform it spent billions to try and defeat. They should. This is the common-sense, brick-and-mortar health industry reforms built into Obamacare that will have the additional bonus of being economically stimulative.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, “[t]he fund will rely on $87 million in loans from Morgan Stanely in exchange for tax credits to build 500 new affordable housing units and eight new health centers serving 75,000 people.” All in all the projects backed by the funds are expected to create some 2,200 jobs in some of the nation’s hardest-hit communities.

In some ways, the idea of placing health centers in under-served areas is not new, said Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform at the The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington to the Wall Street Journal. “But the idea of bringing together private capital and support from foundations is good way to boost the numbers of health centers and increase access to health care,” Ms. Tolbert said. “Just providing insurance is not enough.”

This is a win-win for our country and shows what can happen when the public and private sectors cooperate. Our urban core desperately needs a new public works project and thanks in part to Obamacare, it’s finally getting one. And even if its limited, it’s a start.

 

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Photo from debaird via flickr.

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8:32PM PST on Jan 22, 2013

Not having Nationalized Healthcare in the U.S. or decent food tranparency and safety laws as compared to other developed countries, but the best military on the planet really does perpetuate the view that we are poorly educated, foul spirited, brutes only.

7:23PM PST on Jan 22, 2013

good

4:42PM PST on Jan 22, 2013

Thanks. Good stuff. The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is an excellent start at something that, sadly, some commenting here can't grasp....that healthcare should NEVER be a privilege. Not only should healthcare be a right, it should be a moral obligation of any decent society to provide to its people. To those who offer anecdotal evidence of some who come from Canada for healthcare, I ask this...see if the majority of Canadians would trade their healthcare system in exchange for ours. There have been many surveys on this, and all of them say the same thing....an overwhelming NO. Canadians as a whole are happy with their healthcare. The reason some may wait has more to do with the problems of an aging population and the natural logic that if everyone is covered, it takes longer to service anyone. Moreover, those who think there are little or no wait times in the US to see a doctor have apparently never been to, say, an orthopedic surgeon or an OB/GYN, to name two. Many wait for months here in the US for non-emergency care.

4:25PM PST on Jan 22, 2013

It is the Affordable Health Care Law. Now it needs to actually be affordable for all.

1:35AM PST on Jan 22, 2013

Foundations are in the private philanthropic sector not the public sector. The three sectors of the economy are private enterprise, private philanthropy, and public (=government).

10:44PM PST on Jan 21, 2013

I'll throw another tidbit out there that came up during Romney's foreign relations fiasco last summer.

While Republican/Teabaggers were becoming unhinged about Obamacare, Romney was seeing how good the Israeli healthcare system was. The cost was 9% of GDP, 9%! The cost of the US system is about 16% of GDP. Israel has socialised healthcare while the US had "get it if you can afford it" healthcare insurance.

I'll say it again --- Obamacare, as it stands now, finally offers some leveling of the playing field for Americans.

As Americans who have not had healthcare become healthier as a result of the new healthcare, you should see some costs decrease. The biggest obstacle will be the 'attitude' obstacle. Some people, so accustomed to no healthcare may still not get the proper care. There has to be one enormous public education initiative around healthcare.

@ Mary B --- you got it! :^)

8:34PM PST on Jan 21, 2013

We need one payer. First of all health care doesn't cost as much as people thing. My first wife was an economist. She said if you "balance" the health care books it doesn't add up. For example in 1984 we spent X amount (I forget the exact number) for health care. You look at how much Medicare Insurance paid. Then you look at the premiums, copays etc. Medicare and all that on the Gov. side matched up. Private insurance didn't. She said if those companies had paid that much they would have been bankrupt. Then consider if you pay cash at a hospital or other provider. They can give you as much as an 80% "reduction" (depending on the provider/service). How do they get away with gouging us in the first place? Because patients have no rights. My grandmother was a nurse. She saw the advent of insurance. She told my mother people could afford health care before insurance came along. We need transparency. But those companies don't want that. Then we would see how very little health care really costs and our poor can stop overburdening Canada (yes our poor flock there; when my mother was sick and indigent one of my CA friends said if she didn't get help he was going to throw her in his car and take her to BC for real free health care).

8:29PM PST on Jan 21, 2013

There is no valid reason NOT to have a single-payer system. Look at all the developed (and some not so developed) countries that actually provide healthcare to all their citizens.

Health care is not a fraction as expensive as the republicans and insurance companies make it out to be.

8:05PM PST on Jan 21, 2013

PS: Special thanks to our neighbors to the north for giving us the "rest of the story", after the propaganda campaigns of those-who-shall-not-be-named spend the tax-payers money bashing anything and everything this president has tried to do from day one, regardless of who gets hurt.

8:01PM PST on Jan 21, 2013

So many great comments that I just had fun giving Green Stars.

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