I was recently invited to participate on a roundtable panel of thought leaders from government, business, and academia at the 2011 Annual Conference in Annapolis, hosted by the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus. Collectively, we explored a broad range of topics related to industries that are driving the state’s economy, namely biotech, cyber security, information technology, and healthcare. We agreed that these industries all intersect, in one way or another, as Maryland implements components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Health Reform.
A primary goal of health reform is to improve overall status and quality of care by achieving health equity and eliminating disparities, particularly in the African American community.
Designed to reduce the estimated $60 billion spent annually on direct health care expenditures, in part due to existing disparities, PPACA aims to make health services more affordable and accessible for millions of Americans. However, successful implementation will require important tactical considerations, including educational outreach and local economic infrastructure, which are often muted by theoretical partisan debate.
In order for any government program to deliver valuable services, citizens must first know that they exist and understand the relative value. For example, as a result of PPACA, commercial health plans now cover many immunization and preventive services without charging a deductible, co-pay, or co-insurance. Included are wellness services like screenings for cardiovascular disease, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, and more.