The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law on March 23, 2010 and will fundamentally alter health care in the United States for years to come. The US is currently one of the only industrialized countries without universal health insurance. The new law expands existing public insurance for the poor. It also provides financial credits to low income individuals and some small businesses to purchase health insurance. By government estimates, the law will bring insurance to 30 million people. The law also provides for a significant new investment in prevention and wellness. It appropriates an unprecedented $15 billion in a prevention and public health fund, to be disbursed over 10 years, as well as creates a national prevention council to oversee the government's prevention efforts. This paper discusses 3 major prevention provisions in the legislation: 1) the waiving of cost-sharing for clinical preventive services, 2) new funding for community preventive services, and 3) new funding for workplace wellness programs. The paper examines the scientific evidence behind these provisions as well as provides examples of some model programs. Taken together, these provisions represent a significant advancement for prevention in the US health care system, including a shift towards healthier environments. However, in this turbulent economic and political environment, there is a real threat that much of the law, including the prevention provisions, will not receive adequate funding.
- Affordable care act
- Clinical preventive services
- Community preventive services
- Health insurance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health