|Institution:||Wake Forest University|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/10339/62653|
The recent implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2010 expanded health insurance coverage for millions of Americans, but many still lack access to appropriate and timely health care. Federal law grants Americans a legal right to obtain stabilizing treatment for emergency medical conditions, but many depend on the nation’s Emergency Departments (EDs) for more routine care. Patients who lack access to adequate primary care often seek treatment in the ED because they have no other options. As the PPACA is implemented, the US is moving toward more comprehensive health insurance coverage, but there must be a similar increase in access. In this thesis, I evaluate issues associated with crowded EDs and the shortage of primary care. I discuss the ethics related to governmental provision of health care and whether or not there is a universal right to health care. I argue that health care is a social ideal rather than a right and endorse the goals of the PPACA; however, I recommend several improvements to the Act and suggest additional changes to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of the US health care system.