December 12, 2012

CHMP Senior Fellow Charmaine Ruddock, MS directs Bronx Health REACH, a coalition of 50 community and faith-based organizations, funded by the Centers for Disease Control’s REACH 2010 Initiative to address racial and ethnic health disparities.  

Charmaine Ruddock
Charmaine Ruddock

Exactly a month ago, like millions of Americans, I cheered ecstatically as I watched the election results come in and realized that Barack Obama had won re-election. His re-election mattered to me on so many fronts but none more than the fact that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was now a permanent fixture of the American social contract.  As a health advocate, I knew that many of the uninsured all over this country would finally get access to health care and medical services. I knew that through the Prevention and Public Health Fund and its Community Transformation provision in the ACA there will be opportunities afforded to address many of the underlying causes of poor health – lack of access to healthy food, inadequate opportunities for physical activity in too many neighborhoods and communities. With these provisions, there will now be an added focus on efforts to improve the design of neighborhoods, their streets, and their housing to encourage active living by their residents; there will be renewed emphasis on employee wellness and school based childhood obesity prevention.

There are a myriad other things that the Affordable Care Act will do to promote the health of all Americans that I appreciate as part of the work I do every day but the Affordable Care Act and its permanence is important to me on a personal level as well.  When my daughter started medical school a few months ago and we were discussing the financing of this education, when we got to the cost of health insurance I was able to tell her that that was a cost she would not have to add to her medical school costs, at least not for the next two years.  You see, with the provision in the ACA that allows children to be covered on their parents’ health plan until they are twenty six, she will be covered on my health plan, thus shaving off approximately $10,000 off her medical school cost.  That’s $10,000 plus interest which would accrue on the student loan paying for part of this education.  So, on behalf of my daughter and her future, I say, “Thank you, President Obama”.

Charmaine Ruddock, MS