Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The United States observes the third Monday of January as a federal holiday in honor and memory of the birthday of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (born January 15, 1929)
The Reverend Dr. King led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968.
First African-American President- Barack Obama
In 2008 Democratic candidate Barack Obama ran for President of the United States and won, becoming the 44th President and the first African-American to win the office.
As Candidate, Obama pledged to enact universal health care coverage for the country, a promise he fulfilled with the support of a Democratic Congress.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) , nicknamed ObamaCare, is a United States federal statute enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.
First United States Universal Healthcare Coverage -“Obamacare”
The term “Obamacare” was first used by opponents, then embraced by supporters, and eventually used by President Obama himself. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 amendment, it represents the U.S. healthcare system’s most significant overhaul and expansion of coverage since Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.
African-American Health- Progress Made, More Needed
The death rate for African Americans dropped 25% from 1999-2015, but they are still more likely to die at a young age than white Americans.
African Americans in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are more likely to live with or die from conditions that typically occur at older ages in whites, including
- heart disease,
- stroke, and
African Americans ages 35-64 are 50 percent more likely to have high blood pressure as whites.
African Americans ages 18 to 49 years are 2 times as likely to die from heart disease as whites.
Social and economic conditions, such as poverty, contribute to the gap in health differences between African Americans and whites.
Steps to Improving Health
At the community level, we need public health agencies, government, and community organizations working together to provide education, employment, transportation, food sources, and affordable housing for all citizens. With the support of these social determinants of health , citizens can prevent disease and early death by
- eating healthy,
- maintaining a healthy weight,
- increasing physical activity
- accessing primary and specialty medical care when needed , and
- getting screened for diseases.
Dr. Ben Carson- “Gifted Hands”
Ben Carson, M.D., renowned neurosurgeon, also ran for President in 2016 , leaving the campaign during the Republican primary.
President Trump appointed him to his Cabinet where he served as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This post was updated January 18, 2023. I have learned that the quote on health attributed to Dr. King was never in written form, but was in an unrecorded speech . Many people verify the gist of the statement, but with some changes; he may have said “inhuman” rather than “inhumane, for example. For a discussion of this controversy, see this article by Amanda Moore.
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