Dr. Georges BenjaminNote: Full text of this blog post by APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, can be viewed in The Huffington Post.

The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” is now four years old and March 31 brings to a close the first major enrollment period of our nation’s health reform law. And there is good reason to celebrate.

Numerous provisions such as the insurance reforms, rollout of community-based preventive health services and expansion of coverage to young adults on their parents’ policies have been implemented seamlessly. Others such as the enrollment in some of the exchanges have had a rocky start. Nevertheless, the scorecard is in and 18 million people now have quality, more affordable health insurance coverage. In addition health care costs are down for individuals, families, businesses and the government. The system is decidedly moving toward a culture that promotes prevention and wellness as a first option, and the early returns show improvement in processes of care that correlate with better health outcomes as well as some early indicators of improved health.