The 49th Anniversary of Medicaid and Medicare

This week marks the 49th Anniversary of Medicaid and Medicare. On July 30th, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare Bill into Law at the Harry S. Truman Library in order to improve the state of health care in the United States. Forty-five years later the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, but the hopes for Americans have not changed much since 1965.  Back  then, President Johnson noted,

“No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles, and their aunts.”[1]

 Today, after four years of the signage of the Affordable Care Act, we still have American families that are not accessing the medical care they need because of lack of health insurance and the means to do so. The Deep South States are especially impacted as health outcomes continue to worsen and health disparities and poverty continue to increase.  In part this problem continues to exist because there are still states that have not expanded Medicaid.

Increase in Number of People with Insurance if Deep South States Expands Medicaid[2]
States that have not Expanded Medicaid (July 2014) People with Insurance Coverage in 2016
Alabama 235,000
Florida 848,000
Georgia 478,000
Louisiana 265,000
Mississippi 165,000
North Carolina 377,000
South Carolina 198,000
Tennessee 234,000
Texas 1,208,000

 

We must set a goal in order to reach Johnson’s original vision.  It would be so grand for our health system and overall well-being if we were to have Medicaid expanded in the 24 remaining states.  It would be to our collective benefit to cover all 5.7 million Americans who would be eligible for Medicaid but are currently deprived of health care.  I hope that for the 50th Anniversary, we will be celebrating the expansion of Medicaid in our home states in the South.

[1] Lyndon B. Johnson: “Remarks With President Truman at the Signing in Independence of the Medicare Bill.,” July 30, 1965. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=27123.

[2] Excerpts taken from Buettgens M. Kenney GM, and Recht H. “Eligibility for Assistance and Projected Changes in Coverage Under the ACA: Variation Across States.” Washington, DC. Urban Institute, 2014, http://www.urban.org/uploadedpdf/413129-Eligibility-for-Assistance-and-Projected-Changes-in-Coverage-Under-the-ACA-Variation-Across-States.pdf

Written By: Judith Montenegro.

Where are We Headed? IAC 2014 theme of the day.

As the International AIDS Conference wraps up in Melbourne, Australia we are asked to ponder “Where are we headed?” Our CBA Specialists shine some light on where they believe the HIV field is moving henceforth… Use the comments section below to let us know where YOU think the HIV/AIDS field is going to!

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Stepping Up the Pace: IAC 2014 theme of the day.

In-Home HIV Test and an HIV Free Generation

Today’s theme at the IAC2014 is “Stepping up the Pace.” This theme seems to me like the perfect call to action that we all should heed to. The new biomedical interventions like PrEP and treatment as prevention have been making headlines all over the world. There is no denying that the science community has been active doing their share of the bargain. What about us, the general community? Continue reading

No One Gets Left Behind! IAC 2014 theme of the day.

The Ethics of Finding a Cure for HIV

At the 2014 International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, discussions about the race to cure for HIV are inevitable.   We in an exciting era in HIV research, with tumultuous announcements of breakthroughs and setbacks that we expect to lead us toward a world where HIV is an anachronism. The speed at which researchers are being funded to churn out publications toward a cure for HIV is unprecedented.

We can visualize the benefits, but at what cost?  Research and new innovations have social and ethical ramifications that should be considered, including those to human subjects –people- willing to part take in experiments.  The Mississippi Baby born with HIV and thought to have been in remission is a human subject to experimentation.  Although international policies and regulations for research with human subjects are in place, what special considerations should the HIV community consider in reaching a cure?
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Photo Credit: Rod Spark

Does Twitter Matter When it comes to a Reaching a World Without HIV/AIDS?

Highlights from the HEARD Institute presentation at the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne

Ask anyone on the street – is social media changing our world? Indefinitely you will hear how Facebook and Twitter are both bringing people closer together and ripping the fabric of our world apart.  Researchers are using social media more and more to understand more about us as humans and how our online environment impacts us to predicting elections and flu outbreaks. Continue reading