During a presentation March 18 to about 45 School of Public Health and Information Sciences faculty, staff and students, Yarmuth discussed the importance and challenges of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  

“These public forums are critical to understanding how our system works, as health care reform impacts the conditions under which people can be healthy by giving more Americans access to care,” said Craig Blakely, PhD, dean of the School of Public Health and Information Sciences.

The goal of the ACA is to insure more Americans, lower costs and make significant changes to the health care system, including a shift in focus to disease prevention, Yarmuth said.

Over the course of 14 months, Yarmuth has worked to explain health care reform to the public through forums and more than 100 media appearances.

 “This has been the most complicated communication effort I’ve ever attempted because nothing is more complicated than health care and health care is very individualized,” he said.

Yarmuth said he is pleased with the health care changes, but improvements are needed.

“We need a single-payer system. I think the business community will ultimately demand it,” he said.

In a single-payer health care system, a public agency typically organizes the financing but the delivery of care primarily remains private. The public agency establishes benefits, contribution levels, negotiates costs of care and pays medical bills. Medicare is one example of this type of system.

 Variations of the single-payer system also exist in Canada, Taiwan, France and Germany.