Perks as an Intern: ACA Open Enrollment Call with First Lady Michelle Obama

Written by Kayana Marks
January 30, 2015

Over the past few months I have been granted many opportunities working as the intern for Wilson-Stronks, LLC. Many of these opportunities allow me to learn so much about many aspects of healthcare. When I was asked by Amy to join the call with First Lady Michelle Obama about Open Enrollment during the LGBT Week of Action I was thrilled because I knew I would learn so much more about the Affordable Care Act. Dialing into the call on January 15 I had an open mind and a willingness to learn as much as I possibly could about my future career field.

First Lady Michelle Obama was the opening speaker and she was very grateful for all the work healthcare advocates had done so far. She emphasized that because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) millions of Americans have healthcare coverage for the first time. In light of the LGBT Week of Action, First Lady Obama mentioned that the ACA bans health insurance companies from charging LGBT persons higher rates. She stressed that now is the time for advocates to reach further back into their communities for Open Enrollment. As advocates for healthcare we are the leaders of our communities and the people trust us. First Lady Obama closed out her segment of the call by reminding us that we are indeed changing lives by making sure that every American has access to healthcare.

Immediately following First Lady Michelle Obama, Sylvia Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, addressed the audience. Mrs. Burwell wasted no time in reminding everyone that the ACA has assisted many people in experiencing greater equality and greater healthcare coverage. Mrs. Burwell brought this to life by sharing a story of a lesbian woman who once said, “health insurance was always out of reach” for her. Now that she has more options she finds that “the relationship [with her partner] is respected”. Mrs. Burwell also pointed out that healthcare coverage can also be affordable now. Eighty-seven percent of those that have signed up for insurance have financial assistance. The many millions of Americans that the ACA has helped has shown to be the greatest increase in the last four decades. Mrs. Burwell noted that the Affordable Care Act has helped healthcare all around; from quality to equity.

As the call rounded up with questions I realized that we have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. As an intern in the healthcare field, as a future medical student, and as a future physician I could not help but think of my role in healthcare. I appreciate what I am learning now and I look forward to how I will apply my acquired knowledge to improve healthcare.

*This blog entry ONLY reflects the views and experiences of Kayana Marks.

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