I am so glad that the Supreme Court, lovingly known as SCOTUS, has decided not to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Although I’m not wild about the big win for insurance companies, I am really thrilled that more Americans will finally be covered. For example, now if you are poor, you will be eligible for Medicaid under the ACA (currently only for families with children).
Another thing I really love about ACA is it is forcing the conversation about reform at the local level. And, in Maryland, nonprofits are playing a huge role in the conversation. I’ve also been impressed with some of the people in government. For example, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown has established Health Empowerment Zones to address the fact that some people have poorer health outcomes just because of where they live. The State has asked every County to develop a Health Improvement Plan and a Local Health Improvement Coalition. They are encouraged to engage the public and be transparent, so…
Here’s where we come in. Yes, that’s “we, the people,” and also “we, the worker-bees in nonprofit and governmental organizations.”
Now, that ACA has passed, its time for all the players at the state level to get serious about all those Federal, State and Local Health Improvement Plans, and Health Improvement Coalitions. I know many counties in Maryland are working hard on building cross-sector strategies to bring down costs. But, the battle with chronic conditions is a saga of epic proportions!
Ever think that SCOTUS kind of sounds like… well, just wondering if you’re reading here…. As I was saying…
Maryland is reforming, and now efforts will only accelerate as a raft of RFP’s are coming out to reduce and prevent health disparities, and to address the underlying causes of chronic diseases. Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, are all chronic diseases that are preventable and are killing people at alarming levels. In Maryland, African Americans are more likely than Whites, and Whites are more likely than Asians and Hispanics to suffer these illnesses.
Finally, in reforms already underway in Maryland, mental health and substance abuse are getting merged iso people who suffer from both get fully integrated care. Agencies leading in this field are the integrators who also take care of physical health (aka somatic care, aka primary care).
So, thank you SCOTUS, that now we can continue to sally forth on the boring, grueling, and so important process of reforming our whole health care system!