April is National Minority Health month, and it is far past time for our elected officials to implement policies to improve Black women’s health. As a Black woman, I want to see something done to eliminate the health inequities that plague us, our families, and our community. As a public health professional, I recognize that expanded health care access can go a long way toward improving individuals’ health. As a lawyer, I know that politicians, currently, have in their hand an opportunity to make such a change. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law as an attempt to expand healthcare access to the nearly 50 million Americans who were uninsured at the time. Five years later, some states are still playing political football with implementing the law.
Specifically, the ACA includes tax credits to help the middle class pay for insurance and expands Medicaid to provide insurance coverage for more low-income adults. The Supreme Court, however, in 2012 essentially gave states the option to decide whether or not to expand Medicaid. In February and March, Tennessee’s state legislature rejected the governor’s plan to expand. Alabama’s governor has discussed expansion in the state, but it has not happened. Georgia’s governor has flatly rejected Medicaid expansion, even though the state will lose $33 billion as a result. Twenty-one states have currently not expanded Medicaid. The result? Many Black women are caught in a coverage gap with no access to the care they need. Read the full article here. »