Affordable Care Act Anniversary Is Reason to Celebrate, Not End Progress

Article excerpt

March 23 marked the second anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This landmark legislation was designed to expand health care coverage, control health care costs, improve America's health care delivery system and, ultimately, enhance health for all.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed, the need for health reform in the United States was compelling. Rankings of global health care systems by the World Health Organization showed that America's health indices lagged behind other developed nations, while the nation's health care costs were disproportionately high. Clearly, there was a need for change. After a heated and protracted debate, our president and Congress agreed on a law to address these needs and shortcomings.

As America's landmark health reform legislation, it would be reasonable to anticipate that at this time of the year we would be celebrating this historic event. But instead, our nation is holding its collective breath as the Supreme Court deliberates whether the law will stand.

The goals of health care systems are to provide safe, appropriate, cost-effective, sustainable and equitable health services. Nationally and globally, these goals have been pursued in a variety of ways, and with mixed results. The health policies designed to achieve these goals are influenced by economics, values and politics.

In some ways, the ongoing machinations over the Affordable Care Act remind me of college football. There are opposing teams in football, and opposing perspectives in the political arena. …