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Video: Health Care Reform Could Mean Patients Being Turned Away

KTRK-TV's Ted Oberg has partnered with the Tribune to explain how the state's shortage of primary care doctors could get worse if the Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act.

By Ted Oberg, KTRK-TV
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U.S. Supreme Court: Health Reform

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court is holding hearings regarding a lawsuit brought against the federal government by Texas and 25 other states that questions the constitutionality of several key aspects of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Texas Tribune and KTRK-TV in Houston have partnered to cover these proceedings by showing you how the law has already affected some residents and by curating content that explains what's at stake for nearly 6 million Texans who remain uninsured.

HOUSTON — While a ruling on the constitutionality of the new health care reforms is not expected until late June, Texas patients appear to already be experiencing longer wait times to visit their physicians.

A UT Health Science Center study out Tuesday suggests Houston's safety net would have to grow 17 percent a year just to handle the expected increased need for doctors. The Texas Tribune has gathered data on Medicaid patients. In the statewide map, the darker the county, the more Medicaid patients.

In Harris County — a federally declared shortage zone — the number of Medicaid doctors trails the state average. If the Supreme Court upholds the health care law, hundreds of thousands of Texans would become eligible for Medicaid at the very time Texas doctors say they're considering closing their doors to some new patients. See the Tribune's companion interactive looking at the slow growth of the state's primary-care workforce.

Read more here. And watch Ted Oberg's special report, edited and shot by photojournalist Charles Fisher.


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