The Ethics of Health Care Reform: Impact on Emergency Medicine

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The recent enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, and the ongoing debate over reform of the U.S. health care system, raise numerous important ethical issues. This article reviews basic provisions of the ACA; examines underlying moral and policy issues in the U.S. health care reform debate; and addresses health care reform’s likely effects on access to care, emergency department (ED) crowding, and end-of-life care. The article concludes with several suggested actions that emergency physicians (EPs) should take to contribute to the success of health care reform in America.

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