Health Care Blog
President Obama to Dallas Health Care Volunteers: "Nothing Is Going to Stop Us from Getting This Done."Posted byon November 7, 2013 at 9:48 AM EST
On Wednesday, the President traveled to Dallas, Texas, where he joined canvassers and navigators who are part of the community's most active group of volunteers working to enroll their neighbors in quality, affordable coverage through the Marketplace.
- Posted byon November 6, 2013 at 3:15 PM EST
Today, President Obama is visiting the Lone Star State to thank volunteers in Dallas for helping fellow Texans learn more about their new choices, new benefits, and new protections under the Affordable Care Act. I'm proud to lead that same kind of effort in San Antonio, and I know that mayors across our state are doing everything they can to educate our citizens about the law. That's because we think giving as many people as possible the chance to buy affordable health insurance is more important than trying to score political points.
Usually, we do things bigger in Texas. But right now, when it comes to covering the uninsured, some of our neighboring states are trying to beat us to the draw. In Arkansas, for example, they¹ve cut the total number of uninsured in the state by nearly 14 percent in just over a month.
There's one big reason for that. Under the Affordable Care Act, states can choose whether or not to expand Medicaid to cover more of its citizens, and Arkansas chose "yes." If we made that same choice in Texas, it would cover more than one million of our citizens, and save our taxpayers $1.7 billion over the next decade in unpaid hospital bills.
Conservative Republican governors in Michigan and Ohio looked at similar numbers in their states and decided that expanding Medicaid was a no-brainer. I just wish our governor saw it the same way. Because with a stroke of his pen, he could save more than one million of his fellow Texans from financial ruin if they get sick and save taxpayer dollars in the process. And there's nothing foolish about that.
- Posted byon November 4, 2013 at 12:23 PM EST
We recently asked folks to share their experiences getting covered since the Health Insurance Marketplace opened for business on October 1st. Here are some of the stories we heard. Got one of your own? Share it here.
Lucy from Texas:
"I signed up at Healthcare.gov and I'm going to save $2,300 a year on my premium alone -- and more, because my deductible will drop from $7,500 a year to $3,000 a year. It's still Blue Cross insurance, and I don't have to change doctors, either. I had a choice of over 30 plans and several different companies."
Larry from California:
"HealthCare.gov directed me to Covered California. My new plan gives me better coverage than what I've had with the same insurer and will cost $188.00 a month less. That's why it's important for others to check it out. In California I experienced some glitches at first and I would check in every few days and things kept getting better."
Mark from Idaho:
"Yes, the website had some problems, but saving roughly $2,500 next year (in premiums alone!) seems well worth a little extra patience. Having coverage that actually protects me from financial ruin if I, or my son, get sick or injured? I don't think you can put a price tag on that…"
- Posted byon November 1, 2013 at 3:20 PM EST
Adele's daughter Lily was diagnosed with a severe case of cerebral palsy. By the age of 3 months she was already halfway to her lifetime maximum of health benefits. Because of the Affordable Care Act, Lily can never be denied coverage for her condition and will no longer be worried with the lifetime maximums that health insurers used to place on health benefit.
Check out the video below to hear Adele talk about what the Affordable Care Act means for her and her family.
Learn more about the Affordable Care Act and get covered at HealthCare.gov
For more information:
- Karmel's Story: I No Longer Fear My 'Pre-Existing' Condition
- White House White Board: What Obamacare Means for You
- Posted byon November 1, 2013 at 11:30 AM EST
Massachusetts’s healthcare law, passed in 2006, served as a model for the Affordable Care Act, and the state’s experience during its first year of enrollment offers important lessons for what we can expect over the first six months for the ACA.
- For example, we know that most consumers buy health insurance close to the deadline for enrollment. In Massachusetts, 123 premium paying consumers – or 0.3 percent of the eventual premium paying enrollees – signed up in the first month they could enroll and over 20 percent enrolled in the last month. By the end of a year, 36,000 had purchased coverage. And we know that young adults bought plans. In Massachusetts the number of uninsured young people plummeted from about 1 in 4 to 1 in 10 within 3 years.
- Today, Massachusetts residents have nearly universal health insurance coverage and the primary attacks against this law – many of which we are hearing again today about the ACA – never proved true.
- Before the Massachusetts plan was enacted, people without insurance coverage could only turn to emergency rooms or community health centers for care. The old Massachusetts Uncompensated Care Pool was a program that reimbursed hospitals, community health centers and providers for care that the poor and uninsured couldn't afford, but as the Massachusetts government makes clear, the program "is not health insurance." As then-Governor Romney said in pushing for the Massachusetts reforms, "I believe that we should be able to provide for all of our citizens a basic, good, solid health care system and that means that we don't use the inefficient system we have now where half a million people without insurance go to emergency rooms."
- Posted byon October 31, 2013 at 11:56 AM EST
Ed. Note: This blog is cross-posted from the Environmental Protection Agency.
When we travel to cities and communities large and small, we see first-hand the direct link between a healthy environment and healthy lives, especially for our country’s children. But as we observe Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s worth remembering that too many of our children, especially in minority communities, live in unhealthy environments that lead to unhealthy lives.
Scientific studies show that minority children who live, learn, and play in low-income communities are at a greater risk of environmental health problems such as asthma, lead poisoning, pesticides exposure, among others.
In 2009, approximately 70 percent of Hispanic children lived where air quality standards were subpar, contributing to higher incidences of asthma and other respiratory diseases. In fact, Puerto Rican American children have among the highest levels of reported current asthma as compared to all other racial and ethnicity groups. In the United States, nearly 1 in 10 school-aged children live with asthma every day, those most affected live in lower-income communities of color.
These health disparities are more than just hospital visits and more medicine. They also mean more missed school days, and a higher incidence of obesity due to less exercise.
That’s why improving children’s health and fighting for environmental justice are critical to the work we do. And that’s why we’re proud that EPA and the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) have collaborated with federal, state, and community partners to increase awareness on key environmental health issues, particularly among the most vulnerable minority populations.
Just last year, EPA and the NHMA actively participated in President Obama’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children, which launched the Coordinated Federal Action Plan to reduce racial and ethnic asthma disparities. This plan now provides a framework for federal agencies with measurable goals and outcomes to enhance environmental health among our nation’s children in partnership with our healthcare professionals.
Another key way to fight health disparities is increasing access to quality health care. The Affordable Care Act will help by connecting people to high-quality, affordable health insurance through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid expansion, and consumer protections like prohibiting discrimination on the basis of pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes or asthma that disproportionately affect minority communities.
But if we are serious about addressing large scale public health disparities, especially for our children—we must be serious about reducing carbon pollution and fighting climate change.
Climate change is more about extreme weather. It’s also about children’s health. It’s about clean, healthy air they breathe. The carbon pollution that fuels climate change brings about hotter weather—worsening levels of pollen and smog and leading to longer allergy seasons and increased heat-related deaths, especially for children.
The urgency to act on climate change couldn’t be clearer. That’s why we’re proud to follow President Obama’s leadership to bring communities together so we can take simple steps at home and in our neighborhoods to reduce the adverse impact of a changing climate and do right by our children.
As we travel the country, we see that a healthy environment means healthy children. And as we observe the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s our promise to the American people to continue fighting for cleaner water, cleaner air, and stronger public health standards for all of our children and families—regardless of who they are, where they come from, or where they live.
Gina McCarthy is the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Dr. Elena Rios serves as President & CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, (NHMA), representing 45,000 Hispanic physicians in the United States. She also serves as President of NHMA’s National Hispanic Health Foundation affiliated with the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, to direct educational and research activities.