Laws

Laws enacted at any level of government are policies. One example of a federal law that is also a health policy is the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-354), which created an optional Medicaid category for low-income women diagnosed with cancer through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (www.cdc.gov) breast and cervical cancer early detection screening program. State examples include state laws that govern the licensure of health-related practitioners and institutions. Laws, when they are "more or less freestanding legislative enactments aimed to achieve specific objectives" (Brown 1992, 21), are sometimes called programs. The Medicare program is a federal-level example; many laws, most being amendments to prior laws, govern this vast program. The National Institute ofBiomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Establishment Act of2000 is reproduced in The Real World of Health Policy: P.L. 106-580 to provide an example of an actual federal law. Although the reading is lengthy (actually quite short when compared to many laws, which can run into the hundreds of pages), it will be useful to see a federal law in written form. Electronic versions of this and other federal laws dating back to 1973, the 93rd Congress, can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/, a web site maintained by the Library of Congress to make federal laws readily accessible.

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