Friday, May 27, 2011
Most of the attention focused on the Affordable Care Act lately has centered on the Act’s insurance expansion provisions. Without a doubt, reducing the number of Americans who cannot afford to see a doctor or get their prescriptions filled is one of the key components of the Act and an important step in improving the health and well-being of the country’s citizens. Increased access to health insurance should help address health disparities to the extent that those disparities are exacerbated by lack of access to care. However, simply having insurance doesn’t do much to address the root causes of disease, disability, injury and violence, nor does it directly provide new opportunities to achieve optimal health at the community level.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year about 48 million Americans (that’s 1 in 6!) get sick, another 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 people actually die from eating food. Yet the U.S. food supply is one of the safest in the world.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Proponents argue that these laws serve a public health interest and provide needed treatment to patients who benefit from medical marijuana use. Critics of these programs see medical marijuana laws as smoke screens to legalize marijuana for recreational uses. Since California’s groundbreaking initiative in 1996, 14[i] other States and the District of Columbia have enacted a variety of compassionate use medical cannabis laws (“medical marijuana” laws). While these laws share some similarities, there are key distinctions in the regulation of the possession and distribution of medical marijuana. Such distinctions may impact the laws’ efficacy in providing access to treatment for the targeted groups.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
“Nobody told me there'd be days like these.” While I don’t particularly like that John Lennon song, this verse is in my head rather often these days. The cause of this consternation? It’s the ongoing battles that state and local governments – the people we rely on to protect the public’s health – have to fight to reduce tobacco use, which is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States and a major burden on our economy.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Local boards of health play an important role in our public health system. They provide oversight and guidance for local health departments and they set public health priorities for our communities. By operating at the local level, boards of health are closer to the communities whose health they are charged with protecting than are state or federal agencies.