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Angelina Jolie Pitt's Health Struggle Highlights Benefits and Shortcomings of ACA, Professor Robert Field Tells MSNBC

Professor Robert Field

March 25, 2015

Angelina Jolie Pitt's public disclosure of her decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy and also remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes highlights some of the advantages and shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Professor Robert Field told MSNBC on March 24

First and foremost, Jolie Pitt's disclosure of the procedures benefits the public because it raises awareness about genetic issues, Field said. "I think [Jolie Pitt] did people a service by showing the importance of being aware of your condition and showing it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Field added.  

While procedures like Jolie Pitt's could come with exceptionally high deductibles, having insurance, as required by the ACA, makes a difference and "will protect you from having to make the draconian choice of saving your life or saving your wallet,” Field argued. However, Field noted that  fully elective surgeries like Jolie Pitt's far exceed the financial needs of many, regardless of coverage. 

It is important to recognize, however, that each person has their own individual genetic nuances, Field added.  “Everyone has their own set of risk factors that include genetics, family history, lifestyle, and good fortune. And some people tend to get cancer for reasons that we don’t yet understand,” Field concluded. 

Robert Field is a nationally recognized expert in health care regulation and its role in implementing public policy and the author of "Mother of Invention: How the Government Created 'Free-Market' Health Care," published in 2013 by Oxford University Press, which presents a historical overview of government programs in creating and maintaining the health care system and places health reform in the context of an ongoing evolutionary process.