Healthcare reform for women – beginning today no co-pay for preventive care like mammograms, contraception

Under the Affordable Care Act, for the first time ever, women will now have access to life-saving preventive care, such as mammograms and contraception, without paying any more out of their own pockets.

 

 

Today, we move yet another step closer to giving women control over their health care. In addition to the benefits for women already included in the Affordable Care Act, beginning the first plan year after August 1, 2012, most private health insurance plans will cover additional women’s preventive services without requiring women to pay an extra penny out of their pockets. These services include:

  • Well-woman visits
  • Screening for gestational diabetes, which help protect the mother and her child from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases
  • Breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling
  • Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence
  • Contraception and contraceptive counseling
  • HPV DNA testing
  • STI counseling
  • HIV screening and counseling

These services are based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, which relied on advice from independent physicians, nurses, scientists, and other experts, as well as evidence-based research, to develop its recommendations. And insurance companies know these services help prevent disease and illness, which can save them money in the long run.

By eliminating barriers like copays, co-insurance, and deductibles, secure, affordable coverage is quickly becoming a reality for millions of American women and families.

President Obama recalled his mother telling him, “You can tell how far a society is going to go by how it treats its women and girls.  And if they’re doing well, then the society is going to do well; and if they’re not, then they won’t be.”

 

Source: Facebook – White House, The White House Blog

The Millennium Development Goals – wiping out disease, famine, and poverty on Earth

By Bill Gates

People sometimes say that the United Nations doesn’t do enough to solve the big problems of the world. I’ve never really agreed with that point of view, but if anyone is looking for evidence of the UN’s impact, a good place to start is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

They were agreed to in 2000 by all 193 UN member countries and 23 international organizations. Creating that kind of consensus is—by itself—a significant achievement.

The great thing about the MDGs is that they provide clear targets and indicators of progress in key areas, including:

  • Ending poverty and hunger
  • Universal education
  • Gender equality
  • Child and maternal health
  • Combatting HIV/AIDS
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Global development

Although a number of countries won’t be able to achieve all of the goals by the target date of 2015, the MDGs have been helpful in getting everyone to really think about their part, the progress they’re making, and what they can learn from others. The goals have focused political attention in developing countries, encouraged UN groups to work together, and inspired wealthy and fast-growing donor countries to coordinate their efforts.

In February, the World Bank announced that the MDG goal of cutting extreme poverty by half had been achieved five years early. A week later, UNICEF and the World Health Organization announced that the goal of halving the number of people without access to safer drinking water was also reached five years early.
Source: The Gates Notes – A Report Card on Helping the World’s Poor

 

 

Continue reading The Millennium Development Goals – wiping out disease, famine, and poverty on Earth

AIDS is cured, here’s why

It’s the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic and the world agrees we are at a turning point.

The disease that affects 34 million people around the world (1.2 million in the US) can be cured. The drug cocktail that virtually erases the effect of HIV and allows folks to live a long life is coming down in price. What once used to be $15-30,000/year is now around $3-4,000/year.

A dramatic drop and still not low enough, but as the Economist reports, some rich African nations are starting to purchase them en masse. Especially after new studies are showing that transmission of HIV while on the drugs is reduced by 98%. Meaning that with a coordinated effort a country can stop the spread of the disease, prevent death, and begin the arduous process of removing it from society.

This puts AIDS in the same realm as TB, Measles, Tetanus, Diptheria. All diseases cured by coordinated massive efforts to remove the outbreaks from society. Yes, those use a vaccination but the process is the same and both require a mobilized, organized effort.

That is the turning point. The problem is no longer a disease raging out of control that will kill anyone who contracts it. Now, it is more like diabetes where life is definitely harder for those who have it but imminent death.

For more details and research, plus learn how countries are responding to this, check out the Economist Podcast (search in iTunes), listen to the audio version below, or read the feature article linked below.

The 30 Years War
Hard pounding is gradually bringing AIDS under control

AIDS is cured, here's why

It’s the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic and the world agrees we are at a turning point.

The disease that affects 34 million people around the world (1.2 million in the US) can be cured. The drug cocktail that virtually erases the effect of HIV and allows folks to live a long life is coming down in price. What once used to be $15-30,000/year is now around $3-4,000/year.

A dramatic drop and still not low enough, but as the Economist reports, some rich African nations are starting to purchase them en masse. Especially after new studies are showing that transmission of HIV while on the drugs is reduced by 98%. Meaning that with a coordinated effort a country can stop the spread of the disease, prevent death, and begin the arduous process of removing it from society.

This puts AIDS in the same realm as TB, Measles, Tetanus, Diptheria. All diseases cured by coordinated massive efforts to remove the outbreaks from society. Yes, those use a vaccination but the process is the same and both require a mobilized, organized effort.

That is the turning point. The problem is no longer a disease raging out of control that will kill anyone who contracts it. Now, it is more like diabetes where life is definitely harder for those who have it but imminent death.

For more details and research, plus learn how countries are responding to this, check out the Economist Podcast (search in iTunes), listen to the audio version below, or read the feature article linked below.

The 30 Years War
Hard pounding is gradually bringing AIDS under control