On October 1, 2013, state and federal health exchanges began enrolling uninsured individuals for health care coverage, which is scheduled to begin on January 1, 2014. John McDonough, a professor of the practice of public health at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and director of the School’s Center for Public Health Leadership, recently spoke to the Harvard Gazette and Democracy Now! about website glitches during the launch of the exchanges, the future of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and whether the law goes far enough.
McDonough was a senior advisor on the U.S. Senate committee responsible for developing the health care reform plan that President Barack Obama signed into law in March 2010. A former Massachusetts state legislator and executive director of the advocacy group Health Care for All, McDonough played an important role in the passage and implementation of the state’s 2006 health care reform law.
The United States is alone among the world’s leading industrial nations in allowing citizens to face financial ruin due to a health crisis, McDonough told the Gazette in an interview published October 10, 2013. If the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in all 50 states, McDonough predicted that within five years the U.S. “will join every nation that presumes to call itself advanced in providing a basic level of health protection to all of our citizens and legal residents.”
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