HIV/AIDS prevention and care
Louisiana currently provides few state dollars directly for HIV/ AIDS prevention or to client care and services. Federal monies for HIV prevention and services are equally minimal. The impact of this underfunding has been an extreme balancing act by HIV/AIDS organizations, particularly those who provide direct services as well as prevention programming. Two of our cities, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, are consistently ranked Top 5 in the US for people living with HIV and AIDS. Louisiana must find funding to support new and existing medically-sound methods of HIV prevention and treatment services.
Highways, bridges, infrastructure
With a $12 million backlog in transportation infrastructure projects, it can sometimes feel as though our state is literally crumbling to the ground. Part of the problem is that our governor has made a habit out of diverting money from the fund for these projects to the state police. It’s well past time to stop moving money away from infrastructure projects and start rebuilding our highways and bridges. Ultimately, it’s citizens that pay the high price of this $12 billion backlog. The conditions of our roads greatly influence our auto insurance rates, which are among the highest in the country.
Youth violence prevention and community intervention
Louisiana’s legislature should fund evidence-based, locally controlled youth and gang violence prevention and intervention practices. Instead of continuing to funnel youth into the criminal justice system, communities should be given the resources and support they need to address youth violence and to give every young person the opportunity to meet their potential. Given the current budget challenges facing us, we have a responsibility to find new ways to save money and maximize the effectiveness of every dollar spent. Expanding community intervention, support, mentoring, and education have the potential to save our state millions of dollars and to save hundreds of lives.
Access to healthcare for the working poor
Over 242,000 working Louisianians who earn too little to qualify for a federal health care subsidy and too much to qualify for Medicaid in our state have been left out of the ACA’s affordable health care coverage. This gap in health care coverage results in over-reliance on emergency rooms and hospitals for primary care, and the Department of Health and Hospitals is facing a $15 million budget cut. The Baton Rouge General Mid City Hospital’s Emergency Room is closing its doors later this week, and more closures are sure to come if our state doesn’t do something to save healthcare. The 2015 Jindal budget also drops funding for a network of health clinics in the Greater New Orleans area that serves 60,000. The solution to all of these problems is simple: approve Medicaid expansion.
Don’t think we’ve forgotten this one! Our colleges and universities have been facing funding shortfalls for the better part of a decade now, and panic over higher education funding has escalated with the approach of the 2015 legislative session. Cutting $600 million from the budget for higher education, as Governor Bobby Jindal has threatened to do, is just not an option that Louisiana’s students can afford. And while much of the focus of the conversation has been on the LSU system so far, these cuts would likely have a more dramatic impact on our community colleges and smaller universities. (LOUISIANA PROGRESS- http://www.louisianaprogress.org/post/5-things-louisiana-must-fund-for-the-sake-of-our-future/#more-1905
The federal and state health insurance marketplaces will be open for the second round of enrollment from November 15, 2014, to February 15, 2015. For information on how to enroll, visit http://www.HealthCare.gov. The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, has helped millions of uninsured Americans—especially Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, or AAPIs—gain affordable, high-quality health care coverage. As enrollment for 2015 coverage begins, here are five facts to keep in mind about the effects of the ACA on the AAPI community.
A substantial number of AAPIs remain uninsured. Before the ACA, one in every six AAPIs were uninsured. Among some AAPI groups—such as Korean, Tongan, Pakistani, and Thai Americans—nearly one in four people were uninsured. Even taking into account the first round of enrollment, 1.3 million of them are still uninsured.
The ACA has expanded AAPIs’ access to high-quality health care. After the first round of enrollment, an additional 600,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders gained insurance coverage, and 121,000 young AAPI adults between ages 19 and 26 gained coverage under a parent’s employer-sponsored or individually purchased health insurance plan. By 2016, 2 million otherwise uninsured AAPIs will gain or be eligible for coverage.
The ACA has made quality health care more affordable for AAPIs. Approximately 10 percent of AAPIs who purchased insurance offered through the federal and state health insurance marketplaces benefited from financial assistance, such as tax credits. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or DHHS, has estimated that almost half of those who enrolled in plans with tax credits pay $50 or less in insurance premiums per month.
The ACA has ameliorated health disparities that long plagued the AAPI community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were more likely to have Hepatitis B as of 2014, and AAPI women were less likely to get screened for cancer. Under the ACA, an estimated 4.3 million AAPIs—particularly, 2.5 million AAPI women—with private insurance now have access to expanded preventive services, such as screenings for various types of cancer, with no cost sharing.
Although language and cultural barriers have limited the reach of the ACA’s benefit to AAPIs, organizations have found effective ways to transcend these barriers. For example, Action for Health Justicepartnered with local organizations and small businesses to translate health insurance marketplace materials into Hindi, Korean, Farsi, Mandarin, and Arabic Urdu, among many others, as well as to provide multilingual and multicultural assistance for the AAPI community.
For the 1.3 million uninsured AAPI, the 2015 enrollment period is very important. The community has already benefited greatly from affordable, accessible, and quality health care. Now that local organizational efforts have addressed language and cultural barriers—which previously hindered the population from enjoying the ACA’s benefits—the AAPI community should seize this opportunity to enroll in the second round of open enrollment.Click here to read more.
1. The Affordable Care Act has led to a significant drop in the number of African Americans who are uninsured. Health care reforms associated with the ACA reduced the percentage of uninsured African Americans from 24.1 percent to 16.1 percent between 2013 and 2014.
2.The passage of the ACA has greatly expanded access to quality health care for the African American community. Nearly 6.8 million African Americans have become eligible for health coverage since the implementation of the ACA due to Medicaid expansion and the financial assistance available to qualified individuals.
3.Increased funding for community health centers through the ACA will have a substantial impact on the African American community. The ACA has allocated approximately $11 billion to fund community health centers, enabling them to increase the number of patients they serve. Nearly 25 percent of these patients are African American.
4. ACA provisions provide access to preventive care at no additional cost; this may help curtail African American health disparities. African Americans currently suffer from a litany of health disparities. For example, their infant mortality rate is 2.3 times higher than that of non-Hispanic whites. African American women are more likely to die from breast cancer than the larger U.S. population, even though they are less likely to develop the disease. Access to preventive care can help reduce this disparity, as earlier detection decreases the likelihood of death.
5. African American women are eligible for additional insurance benefits, which can lead to better health outcomes. The ACA requires that close to 5 million African American women enrolled in private health insurance have access to HPV testing, mammograms, and prenatal care, among many other preventive services, at no additional out-of-pocket cost. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE AT CAP
On March 4, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear King v. Burwell, a lawsuit that seeks to strip premium tax credits from people who live in states with a federal insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA.
How the U.S. Supreme Court Could Affect Your State – More than 9 million people have already signed up or re-enrolled during the current open enrollment period, and millions more have benefitted from Medicaid expansion in their states. However, through King v. Burwell, conservative opposition to the Affordable Care Act is attempting to undermine the law through a key clause that clearly states that tax credits for insurance will be available across all 50 states for low-income Americans. Repealing this pillar of the law, which helps make health coverage more affordable for consumers, would have severe consequences.
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If you live in Alaska, there’s something new coming to a bar near you: free pregnancy tests in the restrooms. Why? Because Alaska has the highest rate of fetal alcohol syndrome in the country, and state officials are trying to figure out how to address it. The tests are part of a new two-year initiative led by the University of Alaska, which is spending $400,000 to urge bar patrons to avoid drinking alcohol while they’re expecting. The pilot project involves installing wall-mounted pregnancy test dispensers and posters warning against the risks of drinking during pregnancy.
“This is really focused on the 50 percent of unexpected pregnancies, to find out they are pregnant as early as possible.” Compared to the national average, Alaskan women of reproductive age are about 20 percent more likely to binge drink. Alaska Native and American Indian infants are disproportionately affected by prenatal alcohol consumption. GOP colleagues have also actively worked to block low-income women’s access to birth control services, claiming that it’s not the government’s responsibility to fund contraception because it’s easy for everyone to afford it. The state has blocked Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion, which would extend preventative health care to additional impoverished women, and recently defeated an amendment to an anti-abortion measure that would have expanded publicly funded family planning services to thousands of Alaskans.
The chemical compound that gives some sodas a caramel-brown color could be a carcinogen—and according to a new study by Consumer Reports, it’s in many popular soft drinks at levels that exceed what many experts consider safe. Between April and December of 2013, researchers tested 110 bottles of various brands of soda for the 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MeI for short. They found the highest levels of the substance in Goya Malta, a malt-flavored soda popular in Latin American communities, and in various Pepsi products:
Read more at:http://www.motherjones.com//blue-marble/2014/01/sodas-contain-caramel-colored-carcinogen-4-mei