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California moves ahead with health reform

Cynthia E. Griffin- | 7/4/2012, 5 p.m.

Cook and Phillips say that the Supreme Court's decision is a good one for the L.A. County health system because it means that fewer people will use hospital emergency rooms as their "doctor of last resort."

But there is a drawback to more people having insurance--there is a shortage of primary-care physicians, which could potentially mean that patients have longer waits to see a doctor.

Cook says his organization has three search firms looking for primary-care physicians to hire. Additionally, his company can offer loan repayment assistance.

". . . We work and manage in teams," explained Phillips about how they are currently addressing the doctor shortage. ". . . the team takes the weight off the primary-care physician."

Phillips says their teams can consist of physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. In the coming months, health coaches will also be incorporated into the teams.

Among the other provisions of the ACA are a requirement that every American citizen and legal resident have health insurance or pay a penalty that begins at $95 per uncovered family member beginning in 2014. The penalty will increase each year.

People exempt from the requirement to purchase insurance include those who have been uninsured for less than three months as well as those who will have to pay more than 8 percent of their household income for healthcare premiums.

Additionally, companies can no longer deny people insurance because of pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes or, as Phillips pointed out, for just being a woman.

Another provision of the ACA also allows young people to remain on their parent's insurance until age 26.

States will also be required to establish pools like the exchange that enables the uninsured purchase low-cost insurance.