Noting that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act marks the largest change in U.S. health policy since the 1960s, Frederic E. Shaw, MD., from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues discuss opportunities for prevention and public health within the context of the law.
The authors note that the law is intended to address problems within the health care system, including the increasing cost of care, inadequate access to health insurance and health services, and low health care efficiency and quality. The law will bring health care coverage to an estimated 25 million more Americans by 2019. The law has made coverage more affordable, realized provisions to control costs, and restrained discriminatory insurance practices. The first National Prevention Strategy was established by the law, which adds new funding for prevention and public health programs and promotes use of clinical preventive services. The law also encourages greater collaboration between the U.S. health care and public health systems.
"Taken together, the various effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act can advance the health of the U.S. population," the authors write.