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Archives: 2015 | 2014
February is American Heart Month, an ideal time to highlight heart health to the communities you serve. Not only does February contain Valentine’s Day, it comes shortly after the holiday season, when we tend to eat too much rich and sweet food. It’s in February when individuals may struggle to stay committed to their New Year’s resolutions. American Heart Month offers an opportunity for you to double your efforts to improve heart health in your community and encourage those you serve to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle.
If you are like most American women, you began the New Year with a desire to lose weight. You’re one month into your journey and, you may have uttered “I just can’t find time to work out,” “I hate sweating,” or “I’m having a good hair day, I’ll hit the gym tomorrow.” If your New Year’s resolution to exercise and achieve a healthy weight is already losing steam, know that you are not alone and know it is critical to stay the course—your life depends on it.
When Lusi Maumau’s husband changed jobs, they lost their health insurance. They went uninsured for months – scrimping and saving for a basic doctor’s visit and praying that no medical emergency would hit them.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, they were able to review their options with someone in their community and find a plan that worked for them. Lusi found a plan that provided the quality health care coverage her family needed, and was truly affordable.
Students in the town of Planada, CA, sat at tables with enlarged maps of their community and brightly colored sticky notes. During their participation in an interactive THRIVE (Tool for Health and Resilience in Vulnerable Environments) workshop, they began to understand the impact of the environment on behavior. Fourteen-year-old Jonathan noted, “If we ask our mothers to go outside, they say no – because of traffic or because it’s dark. There are no streetlights.” Jonathan did not know at the time that this workshop would launch his path as a youth advocate who challenges place-based injustice and promotes health equity.
Five years have passed since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and I continue to be inspired by the #GetCovered stories from across America. It is amazing to hear about men, women and young adults in this country who have been empowered—many for the first time—to take the reins and become more active partners in their health care and the health care of their families.
One of the best parts of my job is the time I spend during Open Enrollment out on the road, talking with people who are looking to sign up for coverage at HealthCare.gov. The people I meet often ask questions about my role as CEO of HealthCare.gov and why I’m visiting their community. My answer is always the same. I believe all families deserve the peace of mind and financial security that comes with access to quality and affordable health care coverage, and I want to do everything I can to help them get enrolled.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever. But still, in communities across the country, 10.5 million people who are eligible for Marketplace coverage remain uninsured. In addition to launching the Healthy Communities Challenge to engage key communities in reducing the uninsured during this third Open Enrollment period, the White House also issued a challenge: Build outreach efforts that can reach these remaining uninsured Americans and help them gain coverage.
More than 4 million minority youth smoke or experiment with cigarettes, highlighting a need for stronger, more targeted youth tobacco prevention efforts. Fresh Empire is FDA's first public education campaign designed to reduce and prevent tobacco use among at-risk multicultural youth ages 12-17 who identify with hip-hop culture.
From health statistics data, we have known for some time that African American women have a higher death rate from breast cancer than women of other racial and ethnic groups. Research within the past few years has revealed a higher prevalence of a certain subtype of breast cancer, called triple-negative breast cancer, among African American women compared to women of other racial and ethnic groups. According to the National Cancer Institute, triple-negative breast cancer cases have the worst prognosis among all subtypes and African Americans have the highest rate of this subtype of breast cancer at every age and poverty level.
Five years ago, the Affordable Care Act created a remarkable opportunity in the movement to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity. In
addition to expanding access to quality, affordable coverage for millions of uninsured Americans, it provided the foundation for the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
(HHS Disparities Action Plan)
—the most comprehensive federal commitment to addressing health disparities.