Thursday, June 28, 2012

President Barack Obama: "I'll take care of you"

I know to some it may be blasphemous to use President Barack Obama and DC Councilmember Marion Barry in the same sentence. But for this one moment in time, they have something in common, they want a healthier community.
Healthcare Halo. You did it President Obama!

President Obama's healthcare bill, The Affordable Care Act was finally passed by the Supreme Court justices. One day later, Councilmember Marion Barry will kickoff the Ward 8 Health Summit on June 29 at 9am.

Stress Reduction Summit. Is one day enough?

While I don't want to diminish President Obama's victory, I do want to question how Obamacare will be implemented at the local level. Can Mayor Gray and Marion Barry implement a healthcare plan that improves the quality of life? Will we see an increase in preventive health options, healthy food and stress reduction resources like yoga?

The last time I went into a public health clinic in Anacostia, I felt icky as soon as I sat down on the seats. HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis pamphlets were strewn across the counters. Less than friendly staff members greeted you and called out patrons' names as if they were in line for deli meat.
Icky healthcare clinic -Location unknown
How will the healthcare act and the health summit affect the health of our financially poor residents. What will this mean for the average resident east of the river? Wards 7 and 8 still have the most health disparities. Yet, we have only 90 doctors for the 80,000 residents. We still have the highest HIV/AIDS and obesity rates. Yet, we only two private gyms and no public recreation centers in downtown Anacostia.

The current healthcare climate in Anacostia is depressing and strips even the most confident person of all their dignity. If you are poor and black, trying to access healthcare should not feel like walking through a bathroom in a bus station! It's time to go further than financial reprieve.

Instead of focusing just on HIV/AIDS treatment, I call on President Barry Obama and Councilman Marion Barry to fund innovative health studios, affordable healthy eateries and intensive psychological counseling services.

America's health situation is deplorable, so something had to shift. But the shift must go in the right direction- prevention and implementation. Not just treatment and financial reimbursement.

What will the healthcare bill mean for you? Take this quiz

East of the River Health Resources
United Medical Center- Emergency Medical Care
1310 Southern Ave SE 
Washington 20020
(202) 574-6000

Unity Health Care- Anacostia (Primary Care Physicians)
1500 Galen Street SE
Washington, DC 20020

Ophelia Egypt Center- (Planned Parenthood)
3937 A Minnesota Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20019

Max Robinson Center - STD/HIV testing Clinic
2301 MLK Jr Avenue SE
Washington DC 20020

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