California Health Professions Consortium


Executive Summary:

The new health care reform law, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care 

Act (ACA), will substantially increase the number of Californians who have health insurance. 

Currently 8.2 million Californians, or 22% of our state’s population, lack health insurance.  The 

new law will improve access to health insurance in various ways, including developing a new 

high-risk health insurance pool, expanding Medi-Cal, establishing health insurance exchanges, 

and subsidizing health insurance premiums.  


While the new law provides a major opportunity to improve the health of Californians, it also 

poses a major challenge for California’s health care organizations. Insuring more people will 

increase demand for care, further straining organizations that are already having difficulty 

recruiting and retaining health professionals. Health care organizations in California face 

shortages of health professionals, maldistribution of health professionals across the state, lack of 

racial/ethnic diversity, and an aging workforce. These challenges are compounded by the 

recession, which has substantially reduced State revenue and, thus, State funding for health 

workforce development. 


Fortunately, Congress recognized the challenges facing health care organizations and included a 

number of provisions in the new law regarding health workforce analysis, health professions 

education programs, and financial assistance for health professions students.  


This paper reviews the impact of national health care reform on California’s health care 

workforce.  We discuss issues relating to our state’s health workforce needs and recommend 

strategies for expanding California’s health care workforce and utilizing our present workforce 

more effectively. 

Tags: california, health, reform, workforce

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