Reform Alert - News from the Blues' Office of National Health Reform

National Prevention Strategy casts broad net in effort to improve health of Americans

July 18, 2011

The Obama administration has unveiled a program under the health care reform law to enlist the help of public and private partners in improving the health and wellness of Americans. 

The National Prevention Strategy focuses on disease prevention rather than supporting a health care system focused on treating illness as one way to further the Affordable Care Act’s goals of lowering costs, improving quality of care and expanding access. The initiative calls for the cooperation of everyone, from the government down to employers and individuals, in helping to create a healthier nation.

The initiative, created by the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council, offers recommendations across four broad strategic areas:

  • Creating healthy and safe communities. As one example, the plan recommends that employers adopt policies to encourage physical activity by employees and reduce pollution, such as ride-share incentives or workplace flexibility policies. 
  • Expanding preventive services in clinical and community settings. Expanding efforts like diabetes prevention programs to more underserved groups as one way to improve health and lower costs. 
  • Empowering people to make healthy choices. Encouraging policies and programs to make healthy options the easy and affordable choice. 
  • Eliminating health disparities. Having health care professionals train and hire more qualified staff from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups, or people with disabilities, as one way to eliminate disparities. 

In an effort to achieve these goals the strategy has chosen seven areas of priority to focus on:

  • Healthy eating 
  • Active living 
  • Mental and emotional well-being 
  • Reproductive and sexual health 
  • Tobacco free living 
  • Preventing drug abuse and excessive alcohol use 
  • Injury and violence-free living 

The administration says it’s already working on a number of efforts that support the goals laid out in the National Prevention Strategy, including the Let’s Move! Initiative targeting obesity, the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative to transform distressed neighborhoods and an executive order to ramp up federal hiring of people with disabilities.

The information on this website is based on BCBSM's review of the national health care reform legislation and is not intended to impart legal advice. Interpretations of the reform legislation vary, and efforts will be made to present and update accurate information. This overview is intended as an educational tool only and does not replace a more rigorous review of the law's applicability to individual circumstances and attendant legal counsel and should not be relied upon as legal or compliance advice. Analysis is ongoing and additional guidance is also anticipated from the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, some reform regulations may differ for particular members enrolled in certain programs such as the Federal Employee Program, and those members are encouraged to consult with their benefit administrators for specific details.