The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Obamacare - Good for children, good for our future

We often hear (or use to promote) certain things about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. (I love that 50 years from now, we will all be using the term "Obamacare", like we use the term "Medicare" today, but I digress).

We hear about young people being able to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26. We hear about children no longer being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and that soon that will hold true for everyone. We hear about We hear about insurance companies no longer being able to drop you after you develop a condition.

These are all good reasons to keep Obamacare in place.

But there are other reasons to support this particular health care reform.

Dr. Carden Johnston is a Birmingham pediatrician who has been past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has published an editorial in today's Birmingham News in which he gives his reason for supporting the ACA. Please read the entire article. But if you can't, here is a summary.

Prevention of childhood illnesses and injuries has been a lifelong vocation for me. That is why I support the Affordable Care Act, or as it's commonly known, "Obamacare." 

Dr. Johnston goes on to point out that our current health care system is designed to treat the ill and injured and not to prevent, but that will change with Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act will bring preventive health care into reality. Breast and cervical cancer screenings will become much easier to obtain. All adults will get body mass index measurements as part of their checkups. And their checkups will be supported by this legislation. Education programs to promote health will be supported.

Adult diseases begin in childhood. So, during our checkups of young children, we will be more able to talk about the hazards of childhood that impact life as we mature. Obesity with its complications is easy to conceptualize. 

He writes that psychological  impairments, some cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis all have origins in childhood. These will begin to be addressed at an earlier age, thus preventing later onset. He gives an example of how seat belt laws have reduced deaths of adolescents, and even though it is impossible to say which teens are alive today because of that, we know it is so. That is how it will be with other diseases, once prevention of adult diseases during childhood begins.

In addition he says that the Department of Health and Human Services, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics has developed a program called Bright Futures.

A program developed by the Department of Health and Human Services and the American Academy of Pediatrics called Bright Futures gives guidelines to pediatricians, health care educators and families about preventive aspects of environmental, psychological and physical health. Obesity, injury and violence prevention activities are included. (Yes, bullying recognition and prevention is, as well.) Positive aspects of child-rearing are emphasized in an effort to have every child obtain optimal mental, physical and social health and well-being. 

He closes by stating that most would agree that the prevention opportunities for children, whom he says represent the most important segment of our population. "Most would agree," he says.

Here is some more information about Obamacare as it relates to health care providers.

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