On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation establishing the Medicare and Medicaid programs. For 50 years, these two programs have been protecting the health and well-being of millions of American families, saving lives, and improving the economic security of our nation. This anniversary is particularly important to the Prevent Cancer Foundation as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the first legislation passed since 1965 that includes prevention coverage for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
In honor of 50 years of Medicare and Medicaid providing health care to millions, we want to highlight the successes of the Affordable Care Act in furthering our goal for all Americans to have access to comprehensive health care. Regular check-ups, preventive screenings and vaccinations are key in reducing your risk for cancer and several other chronic conditions.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 76 million Americans received expanded coverage of one or more preventive services because of the ACA. 18.6 million children, 29.7 million women and 28.1 million men can now receive services including:
- immunization vaccines
- obesity screening
- healthy diet counseling
- cholesterol and blood pressure screening
- tobacco-use screening
The rate of uninsured and underinsured people in the United States is at its lowest level since 2008. Overall, the national uninsured rate has plummeted by nearly 6 percentage points since the end of 2013, when the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act were implemented, especially among low-income and minority populations. Lower-income Americans, those who make less than $36,000, are uninsured at a rate of 20.8%, a 10-point decline from a year and a half ago.
Cancer rates are rising due to unhealthy lifestyle habits like skipping doctor visits, eating unhealthy foods and neglecting the value of physical activity. With implementation of the ACA, and individuals like you taking advantage of the preventative services and taking a personal interest in your own health, we look forward to a healthier nation. When you invest in prevention, millions will be saved from the emotional, physical and financial burden of fighting chronic diseases.
For more information on cancer prevention, visit preventcancer.org.