Taking Prevention Into Your Own Hands
Posted July 14, 2010
Surgeon General Regina Benjamin
As a doctor who has cared for patients of all ages, I’ve seen the power of prevention in action; but I’ve also seen many missed opportunities to prevent unnecessary illness and suffering. For too long, the cost of regular checkups and screenings have led many families to avoid going to the doctor, leading to a higher risk of a chronic illness, and more costly care down the line.
If we want to truly reform health care in our country, we need to make sure our health care system provides Americans with the care they need to stop illness and disease before it starts. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year – and often are preventable.
The Affordable Care Act takes big steps forward to focus on prevention. Here’s how:
- If you enroll in a new health plan on or after September 23, 2010, then that plan will be required to cover recommended preventive services without charging a deductible, copayment or coinsurance. This will help remove financial barriers for many Americans to preventive services such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and immunizations, which help prevent disease and reduce costs.
- The Affordable Care Act creates the first-ever National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy.
- Under the Affordable Care Act, a new Prevention and Public Health Fund will invest in prevention initiatives and, this year, policies to increase the number of primary care professionals to help ensure access to preventive services.
- The new law also helps make it easier and more affordable for seniors on Medicare and Americans enrolled in Medicaid to access preventive screenings and services.
We also need a more comprehensive approach to promoting prevention in our communities. Staying healthy depends on many factors, including housing, transportation, the availability of quality, affordable food, our workplaces and our greater environment. We need to empower Americans to get involved and take prevention into their own hands by giving them information and tools to make their communities and their families healthier.
From the Recovery Act to the First Lady’s Move Campaign to the Affordable Care Act, the Administration is laying the foundation to help transform the nation’s health care system from a system that focuses on treating the sick to one that focuses on keeping very American healthy.
Read more about preventive care here http://www.healthcare.gov/law/about/provisions/services/index.html.
Fact Sheets by Constituency:
Fact Sheet: Benefits for African Americans of New Affordable Care Act Rules on Expanding Prevention Coverage
Fact Sheet: Benefits for Latinos of New Affordable Care Act Rules on Expanding Prevention Coverage
Fact Sheet: Benefits for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders of New Affordable Care Act Rules on Expanding Prevention Coverage
Fact Sheet: Benefits for Seniors of New Affordable Care Act Rules on Expanding Prevention Coverage
Fact Sheet: Benefits for Women and Children of New Affordable Care Act Rules on Expanding Prevention Coverage