The National Health Care Workforce Commission.
The Affordable Care Act set up this 15-member body to prepare for the increased demand in primary care needed by all the newly insured people buying in the shopping exchanges. It’s no secret that the US has a shortage of primary care doctors. The commission was to examine such issues as the right mix of primary care docs and specialists, and whether pharmacists could help coordinate care. The administration requested $3 million for the commission to begin its work, but Congress has not appropriated the money. Federal officials have told commission members they cannot even meet to discuss its work. The stalemate is not about money; $3 million dollars is a droplet in the federal budget. The commission is tied up in the Beltway’s larger political struggle.

Tomorrow: Obamacare Scorecard Part 2—The hits and misses and mixed reviews of the Affordable Care Act.

Follow @USProjectCJR for more posts from Trudy Lieberman and the rest of theUnited States Project team, including our work on healthcare issues and public health at The Second Opinion. And for Trudy’s resource guide to covering the ins and outs of buying insurance on the state exchanges, see Open Wide, from CJR’s new July/August issue.

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Obamacare’s Forgotten Faces

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.