Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health reform: preventive care for all

I honestly didn't pay that much attention to the measures in the health reform bill. I was supportive, in theory, while being cynical about its chance of passing (especially since January) and about how much good it might actually do. But now that it's passed, I've been taking a closer look. Guess what? There are some really, really great things in the bill.

As a public health person at heart, I am especially thrilled about the measures in the bill that will encourage prevention of disease with first-dollar coverage of important screening procedures. Here are just a few of the recommended services which insurers (private and public) will have to offer and provide with no deductibles, co-payment, or co-insurance within the next 6 months:
  • mammography and genetic risk assessment for breast and ovarian cancer;
  • cervical cancer screening (Pap smears);
  • colorectal cancer screening;
  • screening adults for depression;
  • intensive behavioral dietary counseling for adult patients with known risk factors for cardiovascular and diet-related chronic disease;
  • oral fluoride supplementation to preschool children older than 6 months of age;
  • screening for high blood pressure in adults aged 18 and older;
  • screening and behavioral counseling interventions to reduce alcohol misuse by adults, including pregnant women, in primary care settings.
For the whole list, see this AHRQ page.
And for more, see this Health Reform Talk post.

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