As many of you know, in March 2010, after almost a century of discussions and debate, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law two monumental pieces of legislation - the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (H.R. 3590) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872), which collectively make up the health reform law and provide comprehensive reforms to our fragmented healthcare and public health systems. These sweeping changes will over the next several years:
- Expand health insurance coverage for approximately 32 million Americans;
- Transform the focus of care from treating sickness to preventing illness and promoting wellness;
- Strengthen protections for about 57 million people who have a pre-existing condition by prohibiting discrimination based on health status;
- Increase the diversity as well as cultural and linguistic competence of health service providers;
- Improve the quality of care patients receive from health care providers;
- Prioritize the reduction of health disparities in research; and
- Reduce the gap in health status and health care between vulnerable populations and the general population.
Over the next several months, I intend to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions around the health reform law, and inform and empower readers with information about the benefits and opportunities that are available to them. I also intend to address emerging political and policy issues impacting health equity. In my next blog posting, we’ll be going deeper into the health reform law to get a better understanding of how it will be affecting every-day people.