The Affordable Health Care Act: A solution that addresses the importance of health promotion and non-communicable disease prevention in a globalizing world economy.

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According to the World Health Organization, health encompasses the direct and indirect factors that affect physical, mental, and social well-being, which includes the ability to function within the context of the political, economic, social, environmental, cultural, ecological, agricultural, demographical, scientific research, ethical, and technological spheres that influence individuals and the factions in which they reside.1 Departing from a traditional medical perspective, this conceptualization transcends the paradigm that health is merely the absence of disease, injury, disability, or infirmity.

This multifaceted approach to health transcends the boundaries of the medical sector to include: 1) microscopic interactions between individuals living within their communities; 2) mesoscopic considerations of communities in relation to available medical and non-medical services that affect health and well-being of individuals; and 3) macroscopic factors at the governmental level that influence the resources and services available at the community level.

The Millennium Development Goals set forth by the United Nations reveal a relationship between global public health and human welfare that begins at the microscopic level. Citing the eradication of hunger, increasing access to education, promotion of gender equality, and environmental sustainability as important aspects on the international front, these Millennium Development Goals, that are indirectly related to health, arguably call for broad, multisectoral policy-level interventions by the United States government for its own people.

Of the eight Millennium Development Goals, three are directly related to improving health including: the improvement of child health, the improvement of maternal health and the reduction of infectious diseases.

Again, for each of these three Millennium Development Goals that are directly related to health to be realized, governmental support of both funding and a solid infrastructure are necessary for a solid foundation that supports healthy Americans across all ages, races, genders, and ability levels. With the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, provisions for policies to govern support such a foundation have become a reality for the United States
government and theAmerican public as a whole.

Page 2 A solution that addresses the importance of health promotion and non-communicable disease prevention in a globalizing world economy Essay

Interestingly enough, none of the Millennium Development goals are directly related to addressing growing concerns due to the spread of non-communicable diseases and preventable deaths. The growth in the prevalence and incidence of non-communicable diseases and preventable deaths in the United States has illuminated,in part, the barriers to health that are inherent in American society. Cost, accessibility and an emphasis on treatment of disease symptoms are the most noted obstacles to the achievement of healthy Americans.

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 (and other similar policies related to public health) appears to be a response to these issues of practicality. Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act is a representation of the paradigm shift noted in the above paragraph. Traditional ways of understanding health patterns are challenged by the solutions offered by the Affordable Care Act for transitions in disease patterns “with a vibrant emphasis on disease prevention… through a wide array of new initiatives and funding”.2 In fact, authors Koh and Sebelius of the article Prevention and the Affordable Care Act, hail the Affordable Care Act as a vehicle that will usher ‘prevention’ into the American schema of health and wellness. 2

Both globalization and transitioning disease patterns have caused the traditional distinctions between national and international public health to become eroded, allowing ideologies and challenges to converge. This convergence that has evolved over time has lead to interdependency and inseparability among the nations of the world.

Failure to address public health interests contributes to unstable infrastructures within countries, and ultimately, the ability of countries to be viable competitors on the global frontier. With this in mind, the reduction of disease; prevention of disease; promotion of conditions of physical, social, and mental well-being; and maintenance of the desired health outcomes requires mutual cooperation from many actors within the United States government. Therefore, the Affordable Care Act promotes the progressive interests in public health that also represent an inseparable dimension to the political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental conditions inherent within and between countries. Ultimately, this legislation will help to ensure the United
States to continue living up to her reputation as a resilient nation in times of adversity.

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