Health Care Blog
- Posted byon January 13, 2014 at 7:37 PM EDT
For the first time today, as part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ regular reporting on enrollment in private health care plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, the department released demographic information on the enrollees, including breakdowns by age.
It’s fascinating and important stuff. But we were also struck by the way in which local press stepped back and saw the even bigger story – that day after day, month after month, more and more of our friends and neighbors in every part of the country are getting the security and peace of mind of affordable coverage. Reading the headlines below, it was a bright, shining reminder of one of the big reasons the President fought so hard to pass the Affordable Care Act in the first place.
- Associated Press: “Health care enrollment spikes in Utah in December”
- Detroit Free Press: “Health insurance enrollment takes off in Michigan, nation for coverage under ACA”
- Detroit News: “Feds: Michigan experiences 11-fold increase in health care sign-ups”
- MLive: “Obamacare signups in Michigan spike in December; see demographic breakdown”
- Sun-Sentinel: “Obamacare enrollment gains traction in Florida”
- Stevens Point Journal: “Obamacare enrollment soars in Wisconsin”
- Palm Beach Post: “Florida’s Obamacare enrollment surges, as does the nation's”
- Posted byon January 10, 2014 at 7:00 PM EDT
Promise Zones: The President announced on Thursday the first five “Promise Zone” locations, an initiative to partners with local communities and businesses to create jobs, expand access to educational opportunities and spur economic mobility.
President Obama was joined in the East Room by students from Harlem Children’s Zone, an educational undertaking that inspired the Promise Zones, where he spoke about the importance of making sure a child’s path isn’t determined by their zip code, but rather by their hard work and determination. In his speech, the President mentioned how he wasn’t so different from one of the students who has benefitted from the Harlem Children’s Zone.
“If you want to know why I care about this stuff so much, it's because I'm not that different from Roger,” President Obama said.
There was a period of time in my life where I was goofing off. I was raised by a single mom. I didn’t know my dad. The only difference between me and Roger was my environment was more forgiving than his. That’s the only difference. If I screwed up, the consequences weren't quite as great. So if Roger can make it, and if I can make it, if Kiara can make it, every kid in this country can make it.
The Promise Zones, located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, are the first of 20 being launched over the next three years. You can read his full remarks here.
Extending Emergency Unemployment Insurance: On Tuesday, President Obama called on Congress to extend emergency unemployment insurance. Two weeks ago, Congress failed to renew the vital lifeline that temporarily extends insurance for 1.3 million Americans who are currently looking for work. “Now, I've heard the argument that says extending unemployment insurance will somehow hurt the unemployed because it zaps their motivation to get a new job,” the President said.
- Posted byon January 10, 2014 at 4:12 PM EDT
The very best people to describe what having new health insurance means -- what it feels like -- isn't me, or any White House policy staffer. It's not even the President.
It's people like you -- or your neighbor, coworker, sister, or partner.
It's anyone who woke up on the morning of January 1st with the peace of mind, security, and quiet dignity that comes with taking your health care into your own hands.
We've been hearing from a lot of you. Your stories are powerful, and they keep coming in.
Read what 10 different Americans had to say about what being covered now means to them. Then, join them and share a story of your own.
JoAnn S., Florida
"I haven't had insurance in years and my husband had a shared insurance junk-type policy. The day I signed up on Dec 10, I actually cried when the application went through. I got my first premium notice in the mail yesterday and was never so happy to see a bill before."
Gayla W., New Hampshire
"I lost my job last April. My partner and I both have pre-existing conditions so our only option was to COBRA my employer-provided plan -- at a cost of $1,676 a month. It was a good plan, but now we have a comparable plan through the ACA for $87 a month. I can't describe just how life changing this is for us. We can afford to live again."
- Posted byon January 9, 2014 at 12:31 PM EDT
January 1 marked a new day in health care for millions of families and individuals throughout the country. For the millions of Americans who signed up for health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces, they now have the security and peace of mind that comes with access to quality and affordable health coverage. From now on, insured Americans won't be forced to put off a check-up or worry about going broke if they get sick. And for those who already have insurance, additional protections and benefits kicked in thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Now, it is against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage or charge you more because of a pre-existing medical condition. And they will no longer be able to drop you from coverage just because you get sick or get into an accident. Most plans must cover preventive services like cholesterol and cancer screenings, at no out-of-pocket cost. Better access to prevention and wellness services is important for reducing health disparities among Latinos who suffer from high rates of chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer.
Andrew Santiago is one of the 10.2 million Latinos who stand to benefit from the new protections provided by the Affordable Care Act. Andrew is a comedy writer from Brooklyn who works freelance jobs in television production. Andrew signed up for coverage under the Health Insurance Marketplace and qualified for a tax credit that allows him to purchase medical and dental insurance for only $87 a month. Andrew received enrollment assistance from the Hispanic Federation, one of the organizations working to ensure that Latinos across New York, New Jersey and Florida have access to quality and affordable coverage.
This Is The Affordable Care Act: Giving Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer Access to Free Chemoprevention MedicationPosted byon January 9, 2014 at 12:30 PM EDT
More than 20 years ago, my personal involvement in the fight against breast cancer started after four of my friends were diagnosed with the disease in the same year. After one of those friends lost her battle, I saw just what a ruthless adversary breast cancer could be. Far too many of us have lost a loved one to breast cancer or seen a colleague or friend endure painful treatments to fight the disease.
That is why I am so pleased that today the Administration is making clear that most health insurance plans must soon cover chemoprevention medications like tamoxifen and raloxifene that can reduce the risk of breast cancer for women who have an increased chance of developing the disease. In addition, these health plans will have to cover the medications at no cost to these women.
Women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer face many questions. Now, if their doctor recommends that the benefits of this treatment outweigh the risks, one question women across the country won’t have to ask is whether they can afford it.
This is just one more way the Affordable Care Act is helping fight breast cancer. Already, the ACA ensures that about 47 million women have access to free mammograms every year or two, that insurance companies can no longer deny coverage or increase premiums due to pre-existing conditions like breast cancer, and new health plans can no longer set an annual or lifetime cap on someone’s health insurance benefits – meaning women diagnosed with breast cancer will not max out their insurance benefits while seeking treatment.
- Posted byon January 6, 2014 at 5:00 PM EDT
For years, health care costs in America skyrocketed, with brutal consequences for our country. Escalating costs hurt our economy, eating into workers’ wages and holding back hiring. They contributed to our deficits, and crowded out crucial investments like education and maintaining a world-class infrastructure. And they've taken money directly out of consumers' pockets, with Americans paying far higher health care prices than others around the world for no better outcomes.
The Affordable Care Act, for the first time in decades, has helped to stop that trend.
New data released today by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today shows that national health expenditures grew by just 3.7 percent in 2012. That means that the years 2009 to 2012 saw the slowest growth in U.S. health care expenditures since the government started collecting this information in the 1960s.