Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis


Economics (COB)

First Advisor

Thomas Litkowski


The concept of medical care is twofold, made up of both prevention and treatment. Prevention itself consists of three distinct levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary prevention includes actions protecting healthy people from developing a disease in the first place. Secondary goes on to refer to management of a diagnosed condition that works to keep symptoms at a minimum. Finally, tertiary prevention encompasses measures taken in an attempt to control an existing disease. Three individual case studies – the influenza vaccine, asthma management, and control of congestive heart failure – exemplify these primary, secondary, and tertiary preventive measures. Together, they provide a cohesive and representative depiction of medical prevention in the United States health care system. Utilizing records and statistics from well-known databanks, professional journals, and professional associations, it is possible to define trends in the insured versus uninsured populations. Establishing this baseline, it is then possible to observe any recent changes that have occurred after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014. Analyzing this data allows for conclusions to be drawn about the ACA’s ability to increase American’s access to health care. After synthesizing the empirical evidence presented in these case studies, it is apparent that differences in insurance status directly results in health care disparities, making some populations sicker than others. Conclusions drawn from these case studies can be generalized to medical care as a whole and further used to offer a preliminary prediction on the improvements and shortcomings in access to care brought about by the ACA.