Public Health and Health Care: Integration, Disintegration, or Eclipse
The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Vol. 46, No. 4, pp. 940 - 951 (2019).
Posted: 6 Feb 2019 Last revised: 25 Apr 2019
Date Written: January 10, 2019
Many observers have argued that the U.S. health care system could be more efficient and achieve better outcomes if providers focused more on improving the community's health, not just the welfare of individual patients. The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 seemed to herald the promise of such reforms, and greater integration of the health care and public systems. In this article, we reassess the quest for integration, a quest we call the “integration project.” After examining the modest steps taken so far toward integration, we consider some conceptual barriers to integration as well as some of the risks it might portend for the public health system. Our assessment contributes to wide-ranging debates among public health advocates, practitioners, and policymakers as to the health care system's role in protecting public health, and how the public health system can best be organized to meet expected population health challenges.
Keywords: Affordable Care Act, ACA, public health
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