KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Study Finds No Sign That Health Law Has Created Crush Of Medical Demand

The industry study finds that visits to doctors are down slightly over 2013. Another study looks at how nurses could do more in managing chronic illnesses to relieve stress on doctors.

NBC News: The Obamacare Surge? No Sign Of Pent-Up Doctor Demand Yet
Remember all those predictions that Obamacare was going to create a crush of pent-up medical demand? All these millions of newly insured people were not only going to pack doctors' offices, but they were all going to be sick with all sorts of untreated illnesses like diabetes and clogged arteries? That doesn't seem to have happened, according to a new report. In fact, visits appear to be down slightly over 2013, before 9 million people or more gained fresh insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the team at Athenahealth found (Fox, 7/15).

Reuters: Nurses Could Manage Chronic Care On Doctors’ Orders
Expanding the role of nurses in managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol could be an effective way to handle the shortage of primary care physicians, according to a new study. "The idea was to see if we could have nurses, who are the nation's largest healthcare workforce, assume additional roles which they already do in hospitals, but they don't necessarily do that much in outpatient settings," said lead author Ryan Shaw. A registered nurse and health services researcher at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, Shaw told Reuters Health the Affordable Care Act is only worsening the shortage of primary care doctors by increasing demand for health care (Lehman, 7/15).

Meanwhile, here's a look at how the health law is affecting one business owner -

Kaiser Health News: A Small Business Owner Enters The Insurance Marketplace
Alongside one of this city's canals, blocks from the beach, Sandra Lopez is finally living her idea of the American dream. In 1996, six years after crossing the border from Mexico without papers, she began working at Las Fajitas, a popular Mexican restaurant as a cashier and cook. With the help of her boss, she received a work visa in 2001. Eleven years after that, she bought the business – a bustling establishment where Lopez knows most customers by name. ... For years, she felt she couldn’t afford health insurance for herself, let alone her half dozen employees: "How can I offer them something I don’t even have?" (de Marco, 7/15).

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