The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is developing a new Web site that is to be available by October to help the public understand the recent changes to the U.S. health care system.

The Web site, http://www.healthcare.gov, is to provide the public with access to information about health insurance and illness prevention, and will explain how the new law will impact existing health care services.

The Web site was announced July 15 during a White House call with reporters, during which U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and other health care officials discussed preventive care and other aspects of the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“It’s important to us to create a site that is informative to the people who use it,” said Macon Phillips, White House director of new media.

The Web site will include tools for finding and comparing health care coverage, including details about premiums to be charged by private and public insurers, and is expected to be fully functional by October. Healthcare.gov will also be equipped with features that allow users to respond and comment on the information presented to ensure the site’s effectiveness of the presentation.

The site is at the heart of the Obama administration’s efforts to emphasize preventive health care including services such as mammograms, colonoscopies and immunizations.

Benjamin said the preventive care initiative is important to African-Americans, who are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases due to a lack of access to healthy foods and exercise. According to the CDC, heart disease, cancer and stroke are leading contributors of health problems in the African-American community.

“Blacks already pay a larger percent of their income for health care. It is already expensive,” said Benjamin.

In a press release, Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, said “Focusing on prevention and early treatment makes more sense than trying to play catch-up with a potentially deadly disease. Quite simply, these preventative services will save lives.”

 

Krishana Davis

AFRO Staff Writers