This past Mother’s Day launched the 19th annual National Women’s Health Week. Led by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, the goal is to empower women to make their health a priority and raise awareness of the steps one can take to improve their health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends many common measures, such as proper health screenings, staying physically active, eating healthy, and promoting other healthy behaviors. Healthy behaviors include getting enough sleep, being smoke-free, washing your hands, not texting while driving, or wearing a seatbelt, a bicycle helmet, or sunscreen when appropriate. Furthermore, the National Women’s Health Week website has suggestions for women in their 20s to their 90s.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA; aka Obamacare) established Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) that insurers are required to cover, including maternity care. Following last year’s failed attempts to repeal the ACA, the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced last month that insurers will be allowed to omit these Essential

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The last week of March has been LGBT Health Awareness Week since 2003. We have gone over some of the barriers to health care for some of the transgender community in previous blog posts, but it remains important to bring awareness to the unique healthcare needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and the health disparities that continue to beleaguer the lives of so many Americans.

Experts report that LGBT people often avoid seeking out medical care or refrain from “coming out” to their healthcare provider. This compromises an entire community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals who are at increased risk for several health threats when compared to heterosexual or cisgender peer groups: Gay men are at higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; lesbians are less likely to get cancer screenings; transgender individuals are among the least likely to have health insurance along with risks from hormone replacement and atypical cancers. Even as youths, LGBT people are at higher risk of violence, depression, substance abuse, homelessness, and other suicide-related behaviors.

The Affordable

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Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act (ACA; aka Obamacare) coverage ended across the United States in mid-December, but the last few states ended their open enrollment period at the end of January. We wrote in November about the state of Open Enrollment, and discussed the impacts of confusion surrounding the healthcare law earlier this year. Now that the open enrollment period has ended, we’re able to look at the numbers of people who took advantage and those still left underserved.

Even with enrollment period cut in half and other changes enacted by the Trump administration, nearly 11.8 million people signed up for healthcare on healthcare.gov or through their state’s marketplace. Experts say that had Open Enrollment period not been so much shorter and outreach funding not been cut 90%, an additional 1.1 million Americans would have enrolled. Returning ACA enrollees marginally increased since last year, however new enrollment fell 29% with the Trump administration’s cuts. Of the ten states that extended their enrollment periods beyond the shortened 45-day period, seven of them surpassed the enrollment from the previous year.

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Medicaid is the United States’ public health insurance program for people with low incomes and chronic health conditions. Medicaid covers one in five Americans; mostly children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. The Affordable Care Act (ACA; aka Obamacare) expanded Medicaid coverage to include the working poor (those who make 138% of the Federal Poverty Level or below) who do not typically have access to affordable care. Thirty-two states have implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. Some states, along with the Trump administration, have pushed for imposing a work requirement for Medicaid recipients.

Of the 25 million affected by the Medicaid expansion nearly 80% live in working families, many of whom are self-employed. Close to half of working Medicaid enrollees work for small businesses which often do not offer health coverage. Most of those who are not working report inability to work due to illness, disability, or caregiving responsibilities.

Kentucky

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Health care in America was a constant subject of conversations in public venues and political forums in 2017. There has been confusion about health insurance, failed legislation, Executive Orders reversing Obamacare guidelines, tax plans affecting healthcare costs, and the failure to fund healthcare programs that cover millions of low-income Americans. People in the United States continue to count healthcare costs as a major concern.

We at NeedyMeds prefer to remain apolitical, but it is difficult to avoid the partisan nature of the changes in health care in America since the Trump administration’s inauguration last year. Donald Trump ran on the platform of repealing the Affordable Care Act (aka ACA; Obamacare), saying it would be “so easy.” He claimed his Obamacare replacement would have “insurance for everybody” and that “Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.” In practice, all “Trumpcare” bills failed to pass through Congress due

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