This past Tuesday, two U.S. senators and former presidential candidates participated in a televised debate with American health care and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as the topic. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) engaged in a town hall style debate primarily on whether the ACA should be repealed and what could replace it.

The healthcare law often called Obamacare has been the focus of controversy since its implementation in 2010. The Affordable Care Act was designed to lower the uninsured rate and expand insurance coverage with the ultimate goal of reducing the cost of health care. It removed barriers for many Americans with pre-existing conditions and other underserved communities’ access to health insurance. It faced strong opposition by the GOP, saying it would instead increase healthcare costs and disrupt the current insurance markets. The Republican-majority House of Representatives went so far as to vote over 60 times to repeal the law; none of the attempts were successful.

Senator Sanders’

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We are getting further away from Election Day in the U.S. and getting closer to 2017, when many of the changes voted on will take effect.  Americans voted on much more than president this past November that will impact our nation’s healthcare; several states voted to allow or expand cannabis (aka marijuana) use for medicinal purposes, Colorado weighed in on assisted suicide, and California proposed price caps on prescription medications.

Colorado became the fifth state to allow a person with a terminal illness to receive a prescription for life-ending drugs from a doctor, with two-thirds of Colorado voters supporting the “End of Life Options” law. The law was modeled after Oregon’s 22-year-old “Death with Dignity” law that requires two physicians to agree the patient is mentally competent and is expected to live fewer than six months.  California, Vermont, and Washington also have similar laws allowing for physician-assisted suicide. Opponents of the law point to

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The United States is in the midst our presidential election at a time when healthcare is a major concern for a majority of Americans. In the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll from August, two-thirds of voters said that the future of Medicare and access to affordable care are a top priority for them. The Affordable Care Act (ACA)—also known as “Obamacare”—continues to be a polarizing issue to many despite the number of uninsured Americans falling below 29 million, or 9% of the U.S. population. We have previously covered many of the proposals from the presidential candidates during the primaries, but with less than two weeks before the general election we felt it important to cover the positions of the remaining candidates.

Democrat nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made healthcare a major issue in her campaign. She has defended the Affordable Care Act in speeches and pledged to improve the law as well as drop the eligible age for Medicare to 55. She has remained critical of pharmaceutical companies

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Over 7 million previously uninsured Americans gained health coverage in 2015 as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka ObamaCare). In a previous blog post, we showed the impact the ACA had since its full expansion in 2014.   Since then, the uninsured rate has dropped to single-digits with 9.1% Americans remaining uncovered by insurance, a decline of 2.4% since last year.

The Affordable Care Act has been criticized by Republicans and has led to multiple attempts to repeal the health care law or states refusing to expand Medicaid to help the poorest uninsured Americans.  States that have expanded Medicaid are seeing uninsured rates for adults 18-64 years of age around 9.8% compared to 17.5% for non-expansion states. Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 16.2 million fewer Americans are uninsured since the end of 2013.

NeedyMeds’ mission is to help those facing the high costs of health care, no matter what comes of the ACA. For those unable to afford their medications, NeedyMeds has an extensive database of Patient

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Since 2003, the last week of March has been LGBT Health Awareness Week.  We have gone over some of the barriers to healthcare for some of the transgender community in a previous blog post, 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.

A report by the Institute of Medicine found that fear of discrimination causes many LGBT people to avoid seeking out medical care.  This compromises an entire community as 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.  Even as youths, LGBT people are at higher risk of violence, depression, substance abuse, homelessness, and other suicide-related behaviors.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped over

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