Nobody wants a root canal, but millions of Americans with mouth pain know it might be their best shot at protecting a tooth and stopping an infection from spreading—if they can afford it. Oral health affects all health and too many people in this country cannot access care. That’s why the Senate is considering the Action for Dental Health Act. But this measure should be the first appointment on our nation’s oral health checkup.
Racial discrimination in the United States is pervasive and affects health outcomes and access to health care on multiple levels—from the interpersonal, to the institutional, to deeper structural divides. Such ingrained racism creates significant barriers for people of color, making it harder for them to get equal access to jobs, housing, education, and health care services.
Networking breakfasts kicked off the second day of Health Action. Attendees had the choice of joining the breakfasts for Enrollment Assisters, our Red State Caucus, and our State Innovation Learning Collaborative (SILC). The informal setting gave people a chance to meet each other and swap stories over yogurt parfaits and oatmeal. Then it was on to making the tough choices among workshops.
We report on a couple of workshops and plenaries from the day. Search #HA2016 for coverage of others.
Health and Health Care in the 2017 State Legislatures: Opportunities, Threats, and What to Expect in 2018
2017 has been an eventful year for health and health care legislation in the states. Despite the challenges critical health programs face at the federal level, states have continued to move forward to pass health and health care bills to the benefit of their residents.
Families USA has reviewed hundreds of bills from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, to assess the legislative trends of 2017. Advocates, policymakers, and other stakeholders can review these 2017 legislative opportunities, as well as some legislative threats to our goals, to inform plans for the 2018 state legislative sessions.
The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy went into effect on April 6, separating children from parents who arrive without documentation—including those legally seeking asylum--at the U.S. border. Between April 19 and May 31, 2018, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their parents under the new policy. Although not the first administration to separate immigrant children from their parents, the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy means that the practice of separating families has grown dramatically and will continue to grow, overwhelming an already precarious system, with devastating consequences for children, families, neighborhoods, and communities across the country.
What we know without a doubt is that separating children from their parents is harmful to children, traumatic for families and goes against our basic American values. This Trump administration must stop this cruel practice and instead put the best interest of children and families ahead of its own political agenda. The president can and should immediately end this practice of family separation.
As health equity advocates we share a fundamental vision of a nation where every single human being has an equitable chance to enjoy the best health possible, no matter who they are—including where they were born. For us, it is not about being on the left or right of the political spectrum. Equal access to good health is an intrinsically human value.
Connecticut just took an important step toward improving health outcomes for its most vulnerable residents. Earlier this summer, the governor signed a law that lays the foundation for the broader use and support of community health workers (CHWs).
Community health workers play a valuable role in helping people achieve better health. Because they are trusted community members, they are uniquely effective at connecting underserved communities to the health care system and helping people navigate social factors that pose barriers to good health. In doing so, CHWs help to improve health outcomes and narrow health disparities.
Medicare doesn’t cover one part of the body that causes many health problems—the mouth. Two-thirds of the seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare do not have any oral health coverage and their health is worse for it. Millions of people could live healthier, happier lives if oral health coverage is added to Medicare.
There are countless sobering findings in the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) assessment of the House GOP repeal bill, most importantly that the bill would lead to 24 million people losing health insurance.
Through our new Community Health Worker Sustainability Collaborative, launched with the support of the Kresge Foundation, we will work with CHW organizations, health care and health equity advocates, policy makers, and other stakeholders to promote using Medicaid funds to provide more sustainable support to CHW programs and better integrate them into the health care system.
We know that unleashing the power of CHWs in communities across the country will make a tremendous difference in health and health care, especially in communities of color.