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Increasing Health Center Capacity by 20 Million Patients Could Save More Than $200 Billion Over the Next Decade
Date:9/1/2009

Medicaid Savings Could Surpass $59 Billion

WASHINGTON and NEW YORK, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Expanding health centers to reach an additional 20 million patients as part of national health reform would result in overall health care savings of $212 billion over the ten-year period 2010 to 2019, including federal Medicaid savings of $59 billion. The dollar value of these expected savings far exceeds the cost of the health center investment of $38.8 billion called for in the July 14 version of the House health reform bill. These findings are contained in a new study entitled "Using Primary Care to Bend the Curve: Estimating the Impact of a Health Center Expansion on Health Care Costs," conducted by faculty and staff at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and funded through the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative.

This research brief, the third in a series examining the link between national health reform proposals and community health centers, estimates the cost savings that would be realized by making important investments in non-profit health centers as an element of national health reform. The brief makes several key findings:

  • Today, in 2009, health centers serve 19 million patients, which will generate health system savings of $24 billion in this year because of the lower overall medical expenditures associated with health center patients.
  • Coupling insurance reforms with a 20-million patient increase in health center capacity over the next ten years would generate an additional $35.6 billion in savings in the year 2019. Over this ten-year period 2010 to 2019, cumulative health system savings would reach an estimated $212 billion.
  • Were payments to health centers by health insurers operating in a health insurance exch
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SOURCE George Washington University
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