11. Medicare's prescription drug benefit
The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush in December 2003, creates Medicare Part D, an unfunded mandate for Medicare to pay for seniors' prescription drugs through private insurance plans.
12. Seat belts
Though the federal government required manufacturers to install seat belts in 1969, use enforcement was left up to the states. South Dakota became the last state to enact fines for non-use in 1995. The CDC estimated seat belts saved over a quarter million lives since 1975.
13. Affordable Care Act survives at Supreme Court: Round 2
In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled in King v. Burwell that insurance subsidies were valid in all parts of the country, thus putting an end to the last serious legal challenge to the ACA.
14. Advance directives or living wills
An advance healthcare directive specifies what actions a person wants from healthcare providers if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. The first living will was developed in 1969. In 2009, President Barack Obama became the first president to say he had a living will.
15. Computed tomography (CT) scanning
The first computed tomography scan of a patient took place in England in 1971. This year, an estimated 78 million CT scans will be conducted on far more sophisticated machines.
16. Accountable care organizations
Coined by Dartmouth researcher Elliott Fisher in 2006, the term describes an entity "held accountable" for comprehensive health services for a defined population. Similar to health maintenance prganizations, ACOs differ in that they are usually run by providers, not insurers, and take on less risk.
17. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act
EMTALA, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, requires hospital emergency departments to provide appropriate medical care regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay.
18.Vaccines for children
A federally funded program created in 1994 provides free vaccines to children in low-income families. Vaccines include MMR, flu and HPV.
19. Discovery of AIDS virus
In 1984, research groups led by Dr. Robert Gallo at the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Luc Montagnier at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and Dr. Jay Levy at the University of California at San Francisco, identify a retrovirus as the cause of AIDS. A global fight over who discovered the retrovirus ensues.
20. The Stark law
This 1989 law bars physicians from referring Medicare patients to hospitals, labs and other doctors with whom they have financial ties (except in some circumstances). Many providers sued under the Stark law criticize its complexity.
21. FDA approves direct-to-consumer advertising
The FDA decision in 1997 made the U.S. only one of three countries in the world where DTC advertising is legal. The flood of television and print advertising for pharmaceutical products continues to this day.
22. Genetically targeted cancer therapies
The FDA approves the first targeted cancer therapy, imatinib or Gleevec, in 2001 for chronic myelogenous leukemia. In 2015, President Barack Obama announces a precision medicine initiative.
23. Statin drugs
The FDA approved lovastatin for prevention of heart disease in 1987. Marketed by Merck as Mevacor, it was the first drug in a class that would become the best-selling drugs in U.S. history.