By Christian John Lillis
As the Supreme Court deliberates the Affordable Care Act, Americans should take a closer look at the commonsense reforms embedded in the law, including those that strengthen public health. Fixation on the law’s individual mandate has overlooked the law’s very important benefits for public health.
Lost amid the rhetoric about individual liberty is the public interest and common good of protecting all Americans from the costly and deadly menace of preventable infections.
Some wildly popular protections in the law, such as keeping children up to 26 on parents’ policies, barring insurance cutoffs for the sick, and ending co-pays for preventive care, have begun to gain the appreciation they deserve. But press coverage of how the law broadens the healthcare risk pool in order to lower overall costs — the so-called individual mandate — has disregarded the law’s focus on a responsibility all Americans share and have a stake in: stopping epidemics and fighting disease.
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