Healthcare ruling renews concern in California over patient access

HealthEdward P. Hernandez

California's top physicians group warned that the newly insured under the federal healthcare law may have trouble finding a doctor available to treat them, and a West Covina represenative agrees. 

James T. Hay, president of the California Medical Assn., said his group supports the individual mandate and insurance market reforms upheld by the court.

But he said "there are serious flaws in the Affordable Care Act that do not address the underlying problems of patient access to physicians that need to be addressed by Congress and the president immediately.”

State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said in an interview that he shares those concerns about the millions of Californians coming onto the insurance rolls in 2014.

"We need to make sure we have a proper workforce to see these patients," Hernandez said. "That is an absolute priority."

Hernandez said nurse practitioners and physician assistants will need to take a bigger role in primary care.

-- Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times 

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