“Healthy Self” (and Post a #HealthySelfie While You’re At It)

Original his story post from White House. Repost by: Naomi Tong

Today, the Obama administration is launching the “Healthy Self” campaign to encourage healthy lifestyles and connect people to the coverage and care they need. But first let us tell you about Alicia. A wife and mother of two from Houston, Alicia knows how important her health is, not only for her, but for the people she loves. As she describes it, “When mom gets sick, the whole family feels it.”

For years, people like Alicia have been priced out of coverage, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act, she and her husband — along with millions of other Americans — were able to find quality plans they could afford. And Alicia didn’t waste time putting that new coverage to good use. “I went to my general practitioner and gynecologist,” she said. “I finally had all the exams I’d been putting off.” And since breast cancer runs in her family, and she was considered high-risk, she was also gene tested to assess her risk of developing breast cancer at no out-of-pocket cost, as it was a covered preventive service.

“After checking off all of those health to-do’s, I was energized and ready to tackle just about anything,” Alicia said. “It’s a relief for me because, as a mom of two boys, I want to be around for them for a long time.”

137 million Americans are guaranteed access to preventive care services.

Obtaining health insurance is an important step for anyone looking to keep themselves and their family healthy, which is exactly what more than 16 million people have done since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, contributing to the largest reduction in the nation’s uninsured rate in four decades. But we only realize the full value of that coverage when we use it to access the types of preventive services that will keep us healthy.

Every year, chronic diseases — including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes — are responsible for 7 of every 10 deaths in America. These illnesses account for 75 percent of the nation’s health spending, yet each is either preventable or much more effectively treated if caught early. This is why the Affordable Care Act guarantees that certain preventive services are covered under most private insurance plans. Today, 137 million Americans have guaranteed access to recommended preventive care and services — with no out-of-pocket costs — making it easier to keep themselves healthy with regular checkups, screenings, and vaccinations. And by allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plans until age 26, the ACA ensures that they have access to preventive care, as well.

Still, young people often avoid preventive care because they are worried about cost, or as anyone who has lived through their twenties and thirties can tell you, they feel invincible. Too often, young adults bypass checkups and screenings, miss the potential to catch problems early, and end up using the most expensive option available — the Emergency Room.

That’s why we are working to promote a better, smarter, and healthier health care system with engaged, educated, and empowered people at the center of it. In addition to picking the right coverage and taking advantage of preventive care and screenings, remaining healthy requires a daily commitment to take control of our own health with healthy eating and exercise.