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Comprehensive health care will have enormous benefits as people will be able to access care and take control of their health at an earlier stage, before a small problem becomes a serious one, with significant costs, both social and economic.

Prevention and wellness - for individuals and in our communities – will be the cornerstone of the reform measures.  Our long-term success in addressing rising health care costs and improving the health of the U.S. population is tied to that effort, which will save both money and lives.

The federal law establishes a mandatory spending account that will fund prevention and wellness activities, including governmental public health activities. The law creates the Prevention and Public Health Fund that is funded at $500 million in fiscal year 2010 and grows to $2 billion in 2015. This funding is provided outside of the standard annual appropriations process and cannot be reduced or redirected – and is designated “mandatory” spending. These funds will be provided in addition to the federal funding already being directed to similar programs.

California is actively engaged in implementing the Affordable Care Act. Governor Schwarzenegger created the Health Care Reform Task Force to implement key reform provisions and programs. For example, California has established a high risk pool to provide health coverage for individuals who have been denied coverage.  The high risk pool will cover eligible individuals until December 31, when national health reform is set to begin.

Kevin Reilly

Chief Deputy Director

California Department of Public Health

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