The Effects of Health Care Reform

The Effects of Health Care Reform

Whether you agree or disagree with the politics of it, there is little doubt that the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) will have long-reaching effects on the health care system in the United States.

What the Affordable Care Act does

It’s not easy to boil down more than 1,700 pages of legislation to a few sentences, but ACA requires everyone in America to either buy health insurance or be assessed a tax. This forces young, healthy people into the insurance market as a way to keep the overall cost of health insurance under control.


It also standardizes what insurance policies are required to cover. For example, insurance companies can no longer reject people due to pre-existing conditions. According to the federal government’s health care website, policies must now include coverage for the following:


  • Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care you get without being admitted to a hospital)
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization (such as surgery)
  • Maternity and newborn care (care before and after your baby is born)
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment (this includes counseling and psychotherapy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills)
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services

How will the ACA affect jobs?

For medical billing and coding specialists and medical assistants, the new law does not have any effect on how they do their jobs and their day-to-day functions within hospitals, physicians’ offices and clinics.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over the next 10 years, medical coding and billing specialist positions will increase by 22% while the need for medical assistants will increase by 29%. This is due primarily to the aging U.S. population, which will require more doctor visits, more tests and more procedures.

Pharmacology: What It Is and Why It’s Important

Pharmacology: What It Is and Why It’s Important

Pharmacology is the branch of medicine concerned with the uses, effects and modes of action of drugs. It studies how different chemicals affect biological systems, and incorporates knowledge and skills from a number of basic science disciplines including physiology, biochemistry, and cellular and molecular biology.

The study of pharmacology originated from the practices of ancient apothecaries, who would prescribe remedies for ailments and then observe the effects on their patients.

As more medicines become available, pharmacology has become more important in determining the potential interactions caused by patients taking multiple prescribed, over-the-counter and even homeopathic medications. Whether these chemical agents are natural or synthetic, they can have physiological and behavioral effects on those that take them.

The study of pharmacology is important to medical support staff because it is essential in keeping a patient safe during treatment. At Living Arts College, pharmacology is a key focus of three of our programs:

Medical Assisting

Because a number of prescriptions may be administered to a given patient, it is essential for medical assistants to have an understanding of potential interactions, proper dosage and how the medicine might affect the patient.

Medical Billing and Coding

Accuracy is the key to a medical billing and coding specialist’s function for any medical provider. Not only is it essential that the provider is paid on time, it’s important that the electronic records of each patient are as accurate as possible to ensure proper administration of medication.

Medical Administration Specialist

A medical administration specialist has somewhat of a unique position because they do a little bit of everything in a medical practice. Because their function can include responsibilities associated with assisting and coding as well as patient interaction, it’s essential for them to have a basic understanding of pharmacology.