The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama, puts the United States squarely among other countries of the Americas that are committed to achieving universal health, said Nils Daulaire, Director of the Office of Global Affairs and Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Daulaire’s remarks were made during the opening session of the 52nd PAHO Directing Council today.
Universal health coverage is a “shared priority throughout the Americas,” said Daulaire. “Here in the United States, President Obama’s health-care law has put us on the cusp of reaching a major milestone in progressing toward that goal.” He added that the health insurance exchanges that become available this week under the law “will put health coverage within reach of millions of American citizens who do not have coverage.”
Daulaire welcomed the region-wide consensus on universal health coverage as a shared priority. “Each nation will take its own path,” he said, noting important differences in countries’ histories, economies, and societies. “But we have come together to promote equitable access to quality health care.”
He also called for continuing Pan American collaboration on other health challenges, including infectious diseases. “The emergence of MERS-CoV and H7N9 should remind us that much more needs to be done, and that includes full implementation and maintenance of the International Health Regulations. The United States will continue to partner with PAHO to close the remaining gaps. Today this kind of collaboration is more important than ever.”