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The Affordable Care Act: Are We Healthy Now?

Guest Speaker: Dr. Craig Klugman, Bioethicist and Medical Anthropologist, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Health Sciences, DePaul University

The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA, a.k.a. Obamacare) was one of the most controversial pieces of legislation since the 1966 passage of the Medicare and Medicaid acts that expanded government-paid health care coverage to the elderly, orphans, widowed, and disabled.  Those on the left have called it the “single most important piece of legislation since World War II (Jonathan Gruber, MIT professor and former presidential health policy advisor) while those on the right have called it nothing less than “evil” (J. Christian Adams, attorney).  The reality is somewhere in the middle.  Most people like the elimination of lifetime caps, pre-existing condition clauses, and allowing children to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26.  Some dislike the required coverage for reproductive health services(there is a case before the Supreme Court right now)and the health insurance mandate(uninsured individuals will pay a $695 tax penalty this year).  Under the law, over 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage, reducing the uninsured to 9.2%.  Debate continues about whether the law has cost jobs, increased prices, or saved money.  With the ACA's future under scrutiny in the presidential election, examining the facts as well as the ethics behind it are important components of being an informed citizen.

Dr. Klugman studies ethics of health policy, public health ethics, and end of life issues.  He is the editor of Ethical Issues in Rural Health and the forthcoming MacMillan Handbook of Philosophy on Medical Ethics. Having written over 260 publications, he is blog editor for where he writes on issues of health policy, medical technology, and professionalism, as well as an author whose work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Medium, Pacific Standard Magazine, and The Hill.  He is the producer of the films Advance Directives and A Cure for Dying.  Dr. Klugman earned his doctorate in Medical Humanities from the University of Texas Medical Branch, master’s degrees in Medical Anthropology and Bioethics from Case Western Reserve University, and his bachelor’s in Human Biology from Stanford University.


Earlier Event: March 27
Adoption: The Rest of the Iceberg
Later Event: April 10
China's Environmental Challenge