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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the “social determinants of health”—the resources and conditions in our social and physical environments that influence exposure and vulnerability as well as immunity to proximate causes of acute or chronic illness and toxins or pathogens. It begins by explaining the social determinants of health, paying attention to the impact of race and ethnicity, low income, inequality, and education on health status and healthcare services. It then turns to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its role in increasing equitable access to high-quality healthcare and in promoting improved integration of the health and healthcare systems. It also considers the ways in which the ACA may not succeed in adopting a social determinants approach. Finally, it reflects on how law can help create a “culture of health” based on established public health strategies and by addressing social determinants through structural reform.

Keywords: social determinants of health, health, race, inequality, education, healthcare services, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, healthcare, culture of health, public health

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