About 6 years ago, I was appointed the Mass­a­chu­setts Com­mis­sioner of Public Health just as the state’s ground­breaking health care leg­is­la­tion was on the verge of being imple­mented. Cer­tain things we clearly antic­i­pated. The Mass­a­chu­setts Med­icaid Pro­gram (known as Mass Health) would surely expand its eli­gi­bility cri­teria so that a few hun­dred thou­sand more res­i­dents could enroll. The country’s first insur­ance exchange—the Connector—would be formed to oversee the process of offering afford­able pri­vate insur­ance to res­i­dents of all incomes levels. Within a matter of months, we fully expected that almost half a mil­lion more people in the Com­mon­wealth would become insured—driving down the per­centage of the unin­sured to the lowest level in the nation. It was obvious to me that I had a front-​​row seat at an his­toric event with mean­ingful impli­ca­tions for the nation as well as our state.

What wasn’t so obvious was what the Depart­ment of Public Health and I had to do with all this. We were watching all the action but con­fined to the sidelines. Could public health assist in the imple­men­ta­tion of health care reform? Even more important,would health care reform change the role and the work of public health?

Read the article at Journal of Public Health Management and Practice →