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date: 21 September 2018

Abstract and Keywords

To both its supporters and its opponents, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a law that redesigns the U.S. health care system in pursuit of sweeping health policy goals. This chapter explores in greater detail the principles underlying contemporary health law and health policy and reveals significant tensions between them. The chapter begins with an overview of public policy and the regulatory state, both in general and as applied to healthcare. It then turns to health law, identifying characteristics that shortchange its health policy capabilities, notably the antiregulatory bias that results from empowering physicians as proxy guardians of patients’ liberty interests. Finally, it explains why health law remains a significant obstacle to improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery notwithstanding the ACA.

Keywords: health law, health policy, healthcare reform, public policy, healthcare, Medicare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, physicians, consumerism

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