Public health and you

By Garrett Prendiville

Nobody can know how our public health system will change over the next four years. Not with certainty. But from what has been discussed so far, many health programs and plans will be overhauled.

The Secretary of Health heads the public health system of our nation. As part of the Cabinet, the Secretary of Health oversees nearly one dozen agencies including the Center for Disease Control, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the FDA. The new Secretary of Health under President Trump is Tom Price, a six-term congressmen from Georgia. Before his political career, Price was an orthopedic surgeon and taught at Emory University.

Price has been vocal about transforming the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Price would like to cut large portions of the ACA and offer annual tax cuts of $1,200, regardless of socioeconomic background. This isn’t an ideal situation for low-income populations. Price is interested in keeping some parts of the ACA, such as ensuring coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and allowing people 26 and under to remain on a family plan. However, GOP leaders haven’t yet decided on an alternative plan and cutting the ACA immediately would leave millions of people uninsured.

Upcoming decisions on public health will be far reaching, affecting women’s reproduction rights, homeless and housing, drug epidemics, etc. It’s important to follow the news and stay informed, because policy changes will affect you and the people in your life. But don’t let the news discourage you.

People are ready for change and they’re ready to take action. People want to be heard. Now is the time to put your beliefs into action and make the changes you want to see. There are people who will listen to you.  Whether you volunteer for an organization close to your heart or you donate a few dollars to your favorite cause, spread a message. Live according to your own values. Try not to be overwhelmed, just set an example. Find inspiration in yourself and you will inspire others. The future is ahead of us, let’s make it ours.

Interested in public health? Would you like to see how you can make a difference? Check out our program, Project Hope!

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