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Abstract

Public health policy/law is a discipline that seeks to identify opportunities and implement mechanisms to achieve justice in the public health sector. Several public health policies and programs have been implemented by virtue of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and these policies and programs seek to decrease America’s “paradox of excess and deprivation” and address socioeconomic barriers that exist in the U.S. healthcare system. Private healthcare market interests have accused the ACA of intruding heavily into the professional autonomy of the medical profession, eroding healthcare market competition, and driving up national healthcare spending. Counter-arguments defending the ACA state that the law exposes the limitations to such professional autonomy of the medical profession, primarily because the U.S. healthcare system is currently ridden with excess, waste, and social injustice. This review article outlines the types of policies and laws governing healthcare, unique healthcare issues faced by particularly vulnerable populations, and future challenges and opportunities under the ACA. Lastly, the article provides recommendations to address future challenges and opportunities under the ACA, so as to balance the scales between private market interests and public health equity.

Author Bio(s)

Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup is a biomedical scientist and health policy analyst, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a Master of Science in Pharmacology and Toxicology, and a Master of Art in Legal Studies. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Health Science at Nova Southeastern University. Her doctoral study focus involves exploring and describing how various forms of biotechnology can be used within the scope of personalized medicine and value-based care.

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