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From Health Care Reform to Public Health Reform

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2021


According to Congressional Budget Office projections, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act or Act) — assuming it survives the pending legal challenges and is fully implemented — will provide health insurance to 34 million additional Americans by 2021. This will increase the percentage of non-elderly Americans with health insurance from the current rate of 83 percent to 95 percent. Although enactment of the Affordable Care Act constitutes a historic step forward in the nearly century-long effort to ensure universal health insurance coverage, relatively little in the Act focused on the potentially transformative impact of public health efforts that prevent disease. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are now responsible for more than 75 percent of health care costs, and reducing the incidence of these diseases — which are often entirely preventable — could dramatically improve the nation’s physical and fiscal health.

Copyright © American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics 2011

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