The Affordable Care Act relies on the trusted family doctor to help transform the country’s health care system. Along with boosting Medicare and Medicaid payments to primary care providers and investing in their work force, health reform puts primary care doctors and nurses at the heart of efforts to improve care while lowering costs. While questions remain about the readiness of the primary care system to adapt to these changes, studies show it’s a critical underpinning to the health care system overall.
Primary care helps to prevent illness and death, research tells us. A 2011 study found that Medicare patients with good access to primary care had lower death rates and wound up in the hospital less often for preventable conditions.