NATIONAL. More than the ACA: We Can’t Stop Fighting Now (Huffington Post)

By Dr. Oxiris Barbot, First Deputy Commissioner, NYC Health Department

Since the start of the new presidential administration, the onslaught of policies and executive orders have been met with outcries from communities, organizations and elected officials. In the medical community, there was an almost unprecedented bipartisan opposition to the White House’s proposed American Health Care Act. To some, the protection of the Affordable Care Act has given us a rare time to celebrate, rest and regroup.

Now is not that time.

Not one of us should have the delusion that an insurance card will be a game changer when it comes to addressing longstanding and dire health inequities. If we truly want to ensure America’s health, activists, physicians and medical organizations can’t just mobilize for preservation of the Affordable Care Act. We must respond with equal vigor to immigration reform, housing quality and segregation, civil rights and other policies that could shape the nation for generations. When 80 percent of health is determined by the context of our lives, confining advocacy to access to medical care is reckless and irresponsible.

In a brave new world, here’s how we move forward:

#1 Collect Data for Action

Medicine and health rely on facts. There can be no alternatives. The need to collect robust data and shape the narrative of health has never been more urgent. By quantifying the human toll of defunding Planned Parenthood, reducing SNAP benefits through the Farm Bill and block-granting Medicaid, we proactively treat more patients than a doctor could during a shift in the ER, or an entire career. Read more. 

KNOXVILLE. Letter: Lawmakers must protect Prevention and Public Health Fund (Knoxville News Sentinel)

By Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America

Regarding Paul Erwin and Doris Spain's guest column, "Protect the Prevention and Public Health Fund," illnesses that are largely preventable -- heart disease, cancer and influenza -- remain top causes of death in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of all U.S. adults have one or more of these and other chronic health conditions. These realities underscore the importance of the Prevention and Public Health Fund -- authorized and funded under the Affordable Care Act -- which helps states like Tennessee keep communities healthy and safe by providing resources for immunizations, chronic disease prevention and cancer screenings. The Tennessee Breast and Cervical Screening Program is one example of many. As Erwin and Spain note, without the fund, Tennessee could lose millions of dollars and experience heart-breaking loss of life. Read more.