Desperate for Doctors
Will Obamacare deliver access to physicians for poor Kern residents?

About this project

One year from now, tens of thousands of uninsured Kern County residents will celebrate the bounty of health reform – they will finally have a chance at health insurance. That’s when Medi-Cal, a publicly funded health program for low-income and disabled residents, will expand statewide, bringing the promise of coverage to perhaps 1 million more Californians. But many local doctors and health care leaders fear that the promise may be hollow. In Kern, they say, it’s already difficult for poor residents to find a doctor when they need one, and that doctors and clinics already are overwhelmed. It’s a situation that could worsen, they fear, with the addition of thousands of new patients.

Stories

For one family, health care means a four-hour drive

This story originally appeared in The Bakersfield Californian.

What the experts say about doctor access in Kern County

“For so many millions of Americans, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will be a little bit frustrating. They will have the card, they will have this new coverage.

Will Obamacare solve doctor access for Kern County poor?

This story originally appeared in The Bakersfield Californian.

Authors

Emily Bazar

Senior writer Emily Bazar is based in our Sacramento office, where she covers stories about the federal health care overhaul, Medi-Cal budget cuts, children's dental care and variation in the use of medical treatments.  Prior to joining the Center for Health Reporting, Bazar was a national reporter for USA Today, where she covered immigration, the effects of the current economic recession and other topics. Her first journalism job was at The Sacramento Bee. Over nine years, her beats included transportation, higher education, California politics, the energy crisis and immigration. In 2003, she was one of two reporters who produced an award-winning special project, “Liberty in the Balance,” which explored civil liberties after Sept. 11, 2001. She appears regularly on KQED’s Forum,Capital Public Radio’s Insight and other radio shows to discuss health policy. Bazar graduated from Stanford University.

Project Partners

© 2014 California Healthcare Foundation Center for Health Reporting

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