A major concern that has been raised about millions of newly insured patients entering the healthcare system has been the strain on primary care. How will our primary care system handle so many new patients? First, it is important to recognize that the uninsured already use the healthcare system, typically at about 50% of their need. So, that means for every 100 newly insured patients, it is like adding 50 patients into the primary care system. Still, that number will be quite large, especially for certain areas of the country that have a severe shortage of primary care providers.
This article in the Atlantic details many different innovations that are in the “experimentation” stage. The takeaway is that this challenge of caring for newly insured patients represents an opportunity to transform our healthcare system from one that reactively provides sick care to one that proactively provides ‘health’ care.