An editorial by Harry P. Selker, MD, MSPH, William H. Frist, MD, and Stuart Altman, PhD, published in the November 27 issue of Science Translational Medicine says the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is an example of the role of experimentation in improving health at the public policy level.
The authors point out that while the ACA is an experiment, it is not radical. It builds on learning from previous experiments such as the establishment of Medicaid and, more recently, Massachusetts health care reform. It also uses extant structures by being built upon existing private insurance providers. As the rollout of the ACA continues, like any good experiment, there are mechanisms for adjustments that should improve the overall outcome.
The authors encourage scientists and clinicians to help the public to better understand the ACA by likening it to traditional biomedical research: it follows tested approaches used in all clinical and translational research, and we stand to learn a great deal from it about ways to advance health care and wellness in the United States.
Materials provided by Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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