Opportunities and challenges for community health centers in meeting women's health care needs

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Women's Health Issues


Volume 22, Issue 2

Inclusive Pages



Community Health Centers--organization & administration; Comprehensive Health Care--organization & administration; Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Reproductive Health Services--organization & administration; Safety Net; Government Funding; Women's Health; Geiger Gibson; GG/RCHN


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates a number of provisions that will better secure healthier pregnancies and general wellbeing for low-income women (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2012). Namely, the ACA expands Medicaid eligibility to adults under 133% of the Federal Poverty Level, allowing women to enroll in Medicaid before becoming pregnant, and increases the availability and affordability of private health insurance for women who are low income, but are not eligible for Medicaid (Collins, Rustgi, & Doty, 2010). The ACA also ensures access to primary care for women by mandating services that must be covered by Exchange plans, such as annual well-women preventive care visits (Institute of Medicine, 2011). Additionally, the ACA provides an $11 billion investment to double community health center (CHC) capacity, which will help to address the complex health and social needs of low-income women at risk for acute and chronic conditions. Although CHCs present an effective option for increasing access to primary care for women under the ACA, they face significant challenges in expanding their capacity to meet the projected increase in demand for care.

Peer Reviewed