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Wanted: A Dose of Prevention in the ACA

March 11, 2016
Five years in, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has improved the delivery of health care in the United States. In my latest piece for the Huffington Post, I argue that more could be done, especially in preventing disease and promoting wellness, if we are to have a healthier nation in the next generation.

There are numerous success stories from the past five years, not the least of which is that almost 17 million more Americans now have insurance coverage and 31 states have expanded their Medicaid programs for the people who are most vulnerable in their states, resulting in a drop in the uninsured non-elderly population to 12 percent.

I write that one emphasis of the ACA has been assuring that all evidence-based health screenings and other clinical preventive services are implemented. However, more must be done to address the root causes of poor health by investing in prevention in community settings. After all, we know that better health for individuals and communities depends on a variety of factors, such as having clean and safe water and food, clean air, as well as safe places to play and exercise.

I argue that we must focus on the social determinants of health in a community or we will continue to struggle with expanding health care costs and suffer from poorer health outcomes compared to other industrialized nations.

Read the full piece and learn how much of total health care costs are spent on prevention.