As stewards in educating, equipping, and empowering members of their communities, faith leaders have the unique opportunity to educate their congregants about the new health insurance options available through the marketplace. Because they value health, justice, and equity, faith leaders can be critical sources of information about the Affordable Care Act, which could have a far-reaching impact on millions of Americans—many of whom sit in pews on a weekly basis.
The New and Enhanced Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards Will Help Eliminate Disparities in Health and Health Care
This April, the Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services released the enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care. With implementation of the Affordable Care Act in full swing and growing interest in improving the delivery of care and addressing health care costs, these standards will serve as a critical guide to developing policies and strategies that improve the quality of health care services and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population.
The budget fight is sure to heat up in the next couple of months in what seems like a never-ending battle between the President and Congress. So what’s at stake? Many lawmakers want to see large cuts to a range of health care programs—many of which reduce health disparities and provide vital services to millions of people of color. Such cuts would exact a heavy toll on the health of communities of color and only worsen racial inequities in health.
Last week, hundreds of state and national advocates gathered for Families USA’s annual Health Action conference in Washington, DC. For three days, advocates attended a variety of workshops and plenary sessions that covered everything from the Medicaid expansion to the federal budget, and many topics in between.
A few years ago, a handful of advocates might have gathered together to discuss the issue of health equity and best practices for engaging communities of color in policy campaigns. A few weeks ago at the Health Action conference hosted by Families USA, we packed a room with advocates, foundation staff and state officials from across the country who were eager to discuss this issue and go a step further to discuss meaningful engagement of communities of color in policy change.
Last Week, Covered California, the health insurance marketplace that California is establishing under the Affordable Care Act, released premium rates for 2014 health insurance plans. Before the release, rumors of “rate shock” were swirling, with predictions of much higher insurance premiums filling the headlines. Now that the rates are out, only opponents of the health care law are experiencing shock. Covered California revealed that, for people of all ages, rates in the marketplace will be much lower than anticipated.
New findings from the Oregon Health Study reaffirm that Medicaid is good health coverage: The study showed that Medicaid beneficiaries were more likely than the uninsured to receive needed health care services (including preventive care), they experienced improved mental health as a result of coverage, and they were more financially secure. These findings, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, are part of an ongoing study of Oregon’s state Medicaid program.
Health Action 2014 is just two months away! If you haven’t registered yet to join us from January 23 to January 25 here in Washington, DC, let me tell you why you should. Besides getting to hear from state and national leaders in health policy and health care justice, Health Action provides an amazing opportunity to make new connections—or rekindle old ones—with state advocates from across the country.
Please join us for Health Action 2014, where you will hear from experts about the political context that informs our work, learn to identify unanticipated challenges, and join us in turning our focus toward making the promise of the Affordable Care Act real for consumers across the nation.
At Health Action 2014, you will:
A recent New York Times editorial explored the exciting potential of allowing alternative health providers give patients routine care. This step could help meet the growing demand for primary care services as we face a shortage of primary care physicians in many areas. And, it could save both consumers and the health system money.