The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, has brought many changes to the United States health care system — many of which will directly affect how the public will obtain their health care. The primary purpose of the ACA is to help uninsured and underinsured Americans receive quality health care by increasing the affordability and accessibility of health insurance. Previously, for many people, visiting free health clinics was one of the only ways to receive affordable care. Under the ACA, everybody — even individuals with preexisting conditions — will qualify for insurance and gain access to quality health care. Community health centers will play a key role providing care to the newly insured under ObamaCare.

One of the primary roles of community health centers is to provide affordable services to uninsured people and help them prevent, manage, or treat their illnesses without having to pay emergency room and hospital fees that they cannot afford. Most importantly, community health centers will stand as a major provider of primary care services for the newly-insured. Without their primary care capacity, the health care system would not be able to accommodate so many new people. Additionally, under ObamaCare, these community health centers will become partners in making sure these individuals seek out and acquire affordable health insurance benefits. This will further allow low-income families and individuals, as well as other uninsured people, access to more advanced health care and treatment if necessary.

A 2012 study conducted by the AAFP revealed that there is a shortage of primary care physicians throughout the U.S. In order to keep up with the demands on the health care system as a result of the ACA and other factors, an estimated 33,000 additional primary care physicians will be needed by 2025. The study also recognized a need for 8,000 more primary care health professionals to help newly insured individuals.

Since the ACA was passed, the federal government has been able to fund thousands of expansion projects across the country. This includes a number of qualified medical clinics and community health centers that are planned to open throughout the United States. These community health care centers are intended to be a convenient way for Americans to learn about enrolling for health insurance and to access health care in the wake of the reform.

It is important to note that community health centers play a pivotal role in the transition of the United States into the new era of health care reform. Community health center staff will help enroll patients and help administer health care to newly insured individuals. They will continue to provide quality health care with a focus on preventive care and treatment.