Primary care health professionals play a vital role in keeping our families and our communities healthy. Their focus on preventive care and wellness is key to keeping us healthier in the long run. Despite the need for primary care physicians, there is a growing shortage of doctors in the field.
If you had to choose between making car payments and visiting the doctor, which would you choose? What about if you had to choose between saving up for your children’s college tuition or paying for an expensive check-up out of your own pocket?
Americans around the country have found themselves in tight spots like these time and time again in our health care system. Uninsured middle-class Americans make difficult decisions about their future and their health, all while carefully monitoring their bank account to make sure they can make ends meet.
It doesn’t even need to be said that women play an integral role in the health care of many others, including their children, their parents, and their families as a whole. And though women make up half of the U.S. population, for years they have not received treatment equal to men in the health care system. Health reform aims to eliminate this unfair treatment.
Disparities among communities of color persist in our nation. People of color are more likely than whites to lack health insurance, to receive lower-quality care, and to experience worse health outcomes.
Last week, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation released a report by the Urban Institute analyzing the impact of the Massachusetts’s health reform law over the past year. By all accounts, access, quality, and affordability have improved for all Bay Staters both since the inception of the bill in April 2006 and over the past year.
Today, President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined in on a national conference to talk about how health reform will affect seniors. People at dozens of viewing parties around the country tuned in to find out more about what’s in the new law and how generations to come will have the safety and security of having access to quality, affordable health care during retirement.
Community health centers play a key role in providing access to primary and preventive health care, especially to historically underserved populations in rural or low-income neighborhoods. According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, “1,200 health centers deliver care through over 7,500 service delivery sites in every state and territory.”
Anne Brooks is a nun and a physician who is attempting to change the lives of lower-income members of her community—one doctor’s visit at a time. She’s been working out of a small clinic in Mississippi for over 27 years, treating people who are often uninsured and can’t pay their medical bills. Because Congress passed comprehensive health reform this year, however, she has hope that things will start looking up soon.
The words “doughnut hole” may summon thoughts of a delicious treat to someone under the age of 10, but for people with Medicare those same words represent something scary.
But how can doughnut holes be scary? In our health care system, when seniors and people with disabilities sign up for prescription drug benefits through Medicare Part D, there is a coverage gap that often results in elderly and disabled Americans paying way more than they can afford for prescription drugs. We call this the “doughnut hole.”
For the past few weeks, Congress has worked on a jobs bill that includes a number of provisions to help Americans get back on their feet during this recession. Unfortunately, last week negotiators struggled to find the necessary votes to pass the jobs bill in the House. At the last minute, negotiators removed two key health care provisions that would have offered help to millions of low-income Americans and to jobless. The House approved the stripped down bill, 215-204.