President Obama on Monday became the first sitting president to publish a scholarly article in a reputable medical journal.
The article, entitled “United States Health Care Reform: Progress to Date and Next Steps,” and published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), provides evidence that illustrates his administration’s decision to pursue health reform, summarizes the effects of the law from the year coverage took effect, lays out a plan that the next president can take to build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and highlights the lessons he and his administration learned to influence the actions of future policy makers.
“When I took office, health care costs had risen rapidly for decades,” the president wrote, “and tens of millions of Americans were uninsured. Regardless of the political difficulties, I concluded comprehensive reform was necessary.”
Notably, the president introduces a “public option” plan in parts of the country, stating that, despite the ACA “too many Americans still strain to pay for their physician visits and prescriptions” and recommends that the federal government decrease drug prices.
The piece states that roughly 20 million Americans are now covered by the ACA, with the number of uninsured citizens dropping from 49 million to 29 million, the largest decline in the uninsured rate since Medicare and Medicaid took effect 50 years ago.
“The ACA has succeeded in sharply increasing insurance coverage,” the article states. “Since the ACA became law, the uninsured rate has declined by 43%, from 16.0% in 2010 to 9.1% in 2015, with most of that decline occurring after the law’s main coverage provisions took effect in 2014.”
Though the article is listed as a “Special Communication,” the article, over the course of two months, was fact-checked and revised before publication, according to the Editor in Chief of JAMA, Howard Bauchner, who commented on the article in an interview with Bloomberg.
“While we of course recognized the author is the president of the United States…we certainly expected the president to meet those standards.”
The president credits seven staff members for help with research, editing, and constructing of the article.
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