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.
No matter your political affiliation or economic philosophy, most everyone can agree that small businesses play a major role in the growth and sustainability of the American economy. According to the Small Business Majority, the small business community:
“[I]ncludes 6 million small employers with 43 million employees and nearly 22 million self-employed people… Together, these entrepreneurs and other small business owners innovate, grow the economy and create jobs.”
This week, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a new state-by-state analysis showing that the federal government will assume all but a very small percentage of the cost to expand Medicaid, dramatically reducing the number of uninsured Americans at a bare minimal cost to the states.
Seniors were often the main target of opponents of the now-passed health reform law. Whether it was “death panels,” fears of rationing, or spreading misinformation about the changes to Medicare Advantage, those over 65 were the subjected to blatant lies and deception. Now that the new law is being implemented, it’s time for the political rhetoric to be set aside and replaced with facts about how this historic legislation will affect the elderly.