Abstract: It is important to recognize the political and policy accomplishments of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), anticipate its limitations, and use the levers it provides strategically to address the problems it does not resolve.
Passage of the ACA broke the political logjam that long stymied national progress toward equitable, quality, universal, affordable health care. It extends coverage for the uninsured who are disproportionately low income and people of color, curbs health insurance abuses, and initiates improvements in the quality of care.
However, challenges to affordability and cost control persist.
Public health advocates should mobilize for coverage for abortion care and for immigrants, encourage public-sector involvement in negotiating health care prices, and counter disinformation by opponents on the right.
Tables summarize major changes in coverage, insurance company protections, and quality/affordability.
(Am J PublicHealth. Published online ahead of print February 14,2013: e1–e4. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301180. It will appear in print in June, 2013,)