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Physical & Mental HEALTH JOURNAL Spring 2014 s69 Dispelling the Myths of the March 2010 marked a signifi-cant shift in healthcare when President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Together with the Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act, the ACA represents the most signifi-cant regulatory overhaul of the coun-try’s healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Now, after considerable debate on the issue that had both republi-cans and democrats of the House at a stalemate, the ACA provides Ameri-cans with improved access to afford-able health care coverage. “Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. supports the ACA not because of po-litical affiliation, but because of the tremendous need among women—es-pecially African-American women— for access to affordable health care,” said Dr. Paulette C. Walker, National President of Delta Sigma Theta Soror-ity, Inc. in a written statement. Chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. have implemented pro-grams across the country to educate members and their communities about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, on December 11, 2013, the Sorority’s National Social Action Commission, chaired by 22nd National President Rev. Dr. Gwendo-lyn E. Boyd and Soror Carla Harris, hosted a webinar, which provided an overview of ACA levels of insurance, expectations and penalties. Along with the commission co-chairs, pre-senters included Tamia Booker, di-rector of African American Outreach and External Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services; Soror Ashley Allison, constituency engage-ment director, Enroll America; Soror Melanie Campbell, executive direc-tor, National Coalition of Black Voter Participation; and Soror Shavon Ar-line- Bradley, senior director health programs, NAACP. Features of the Affordable Care Act With this new law, often referred to as ObamaCare, millions of unin-sured and insured Americans will enjoy stronger consumer rights and protections, more affordable cover-age, better access to care, and stron-ger Medicare. Improved consumer rights in-clude protection against insurance companies denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma or diabetes, limiting the dollar amounts of coverage for chronic illnesses or cancelling cover-age due to errors. ACA requires insurers to cover several recommended preventive services, such as health screen-ings for cancer, diabetes and blood pressure without cost sharing. For example, reports estimate 7.3 mil-lion African-Americans with private health insurance now have access to well-child visits, flu shots, colonosco-py screenings for colon cancer, HPV testing, mammograms, screening for cervical cancer and prenatal care with no cost sharing. Another important feature of the ACA is that more than 500,000 young African-American adults ages 19 to 25, who would otherwise have been uninsured, now have coverage under their parents’ employer-sponsored or individually purchased health plan. As a result of ACA, Medicare participants will see new benefits, improvements in care for patients and increased efforts to fight fraud. People with Medicare who have prescription drug costs that hit the donut hole—the gap in prescription Affordable Healthcare Act By Rita Holmes-Bobo


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