Black History Month is about American History with a focus on the contributions African American/Blacks made to build our country. Here in Kansas, we can trace the outstanding contributions of Gordon Parks, George Washington Carver, Langston Hughes, and others. We can be proud that African Americans/Blacks fought for Kansas in the Civil War and helped to settle towns in Kansas, including Nicodemus, which stands today as a national historic site.
African American/Blacks continue to contribute to our culture and economy. Many of us, however, are not in the best of health. We continue to have disproportionate patterns of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity running through our families, and we are part of the 45 million Americans who are uninsured.
Soon Kansans will have access to insurance coverage under the health care law so that we can all get the help we need to take better care of ourselves and prevent disease. The health care law is known by many names: health reform, Obamacare, the health care law, the Affordable Care Act, or ACA.
No matter what you call the law, it means you will have easier access to health insurance, more preventive services, and stronger consumer protections. If you have a pre-existing condition and have been uninsured for at least six months, you can get coverage right now without fear of being rejected under the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), which will be in place until our state has a health insurance exchange in 2014.
The ACA is important for African Americans/Blacks. But just as Black History Month is about American History, the Affordable Care Act provides benefits for all Kansans.