Eight million Americans are expected to gain health insurance through Medicaid next year under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But there is a lot of uncertainty as to whether states will cooperate and if there are enough providers to make the new system work.
An article in the Sacramento Bee this week discusses the concerns many have over an expanded health care system:
"Questions about the cost of the expansion, whether states will cooperate and a potential shortage of care providers has cast a cloud of uncertainty over the move as the nation's rapidly evolving health care system readies for this rare jolt of newly insured patients - and whatever surprises come with them.
"The challenge is you don't know who will show up until they show up," said Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors.
He said that nearly every state that has undergone a large expansion of its Medicaid eligibility has seen two things: "More people show up than you think will show up, and the people that show up are sicker than you expected."
Our take on this is that pharmacists, in their evolving role, are here to help. While it's true that pharmacies are the primary provider of prescription medications Americans rely on, the role of today's pharmacies and pharmacists goes well beyond dispensing medications. Many now offer health products and services and play a critical role in delivering quality health care to people of all income levels and at all stages of life. As highly accessible-and trusted-health providers, today's pharmacist assists patients with their health and wellness through counseling, medication therapy management, immunizations and testing, and more.
They are well-equipped and perfectly-positioned to help serve this growing group.