University of Pennsylvania Law Review   |  June 9, 2011

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a major achievement in
improving access to health care services. However, evidence indicates that the
nation could achieve greater improvements in health outcomes, at a lower cost,
by shifting its focus to public health. By focusing nearly exclusively on health
care, policy makers have chronically starved public health of adequate and stable
funding and political support. The lack of support for public health is exacerbated
by the fact that health care and public health are generally conceptualized,
organized, and funded as two separate systems. In order to maximize gains in
health status and to spend scarce health resources most effectively, health care
and public health should be treated as two interactive parts of a single, unified
health system.

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