Commentary: Will the Affordable Care Act Improve Access for the Medically Underserved? A New Jersey Comment

Date01 November 2014
Published date01 November 2014
Will the Affordable Care Act Improve Access for the Medically Underserved? A New Jersey Comment 759
Public Administration Review,
Vol. 74, Iss. 6, pp. 759–760. © 2014 by
The American Society for Public Administration.
DOI: 10.1111/puar.12286.
Fred M. Jacobs is executive vice
president of St. George’s University and
chair of its Department of Medicine, as well
as clinical professor at Rutgers New Jersey
Medical School. Formerly, he served as com-
missioner of the New Jersey Department of
Health and Senior Services and as executive
vice president of St. Barnabas Health Care
System. He is a fellow of the American
College of Physicians, American College of
Chest Physicians, and American College of
Legal Medicine.
and Af‌f ordable Care Act (ACA) provided measures
of perceptions of “unmet health care needs” as well as
actual utilization (“whether or not the individual saw
a physician in the last year”).  is tool, well suited
to the purposes of this evaluation, was designed and
utilized by the Rutgers University Center for State
Health Policy.
As the authors indicate, New Jersey has a long his-
tory of attempting to improve both the quality of
and access to health care across the age continuum.
Having spent more than three years as commissioner
of health and senior services in New Jersey, I had
a front seat to view many of those ef‌f orts. Early in
my term, New Jersey enacted a law, sponsored by
Senator Wayne Bryant, requiring every physician
licensed in the state to take an approved course in
“cultural competency.” Each September, Minority and
Multicultural Health Month, events are scheduled to
It has long been considered a New Jersey fact that
the recent immigrant population, both legal and
undocumented, suf‌f ers from inadequate quality
of and access to comprehensive health care. While not
addressing the quality of health care or any specif‌i c
quality indicators of the care actually provided to
these groups, Sanjay K. Pandey, Joel C. Cantor, and
Kristen Lloyd in their article “Immigrant Health Care
Access and the Af‌f ordable Care Act” make a valu-
able contribution to our understanding of the factors
underlying access to health care by immigrants in
New Jersey and, by extension, nationwide.
ey make use of the “Anderson model” to better
understand how two measures of health care access
af‌f ect immigrant groups divided by time in the United
States compared with the U.S.-born population. Data
obtained from the New Jersey Family Health Survey
prior to the implementation of the Patient Protection
Will the Af‌f ordable Care Act Improve Access for the
Medically Underserved? A New Jersey Comment
Fred M. Jacobs
St. George’s University

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