Improving the Population's Health: The Affordable Care Act and the Importance of Integration

Hardcastle, Lorian E.; Record, Katherine L.; Jacobson, Peter D.; Gostin, Lawrence O.
September 2011
Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics;Fall2011, Vol. 39 Issue 3, p317
Academic Journal
Despite evidence indicating that public health services are the most effective means of improving the population's health status, health care services receive the bulk of funding and political support. The recent passage of the Affordable Care Act, which focused on improving access to health care services through insurance reform, reflects the primacy of health care over public health. Although policymakers typically conceptualize health care and public health as two distinct systems, gains in health status are most effectively and cost-efficiently achieved through their integration into a single health system. The Act does little to compel integration; however, there are numerous opportunities to encourage the coordination of public health and health care in the Act's implementation.


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