A case for raising the legal sale age on tobacco products

Adriana PecinaBy Adriana Pecina, HCF Program Officer

There are many milestones for a parent. Having your child turn 18 may be among the top. It’s an emotional time for a parent.

I should know — my oldest daughter turned 18 this year and she is now a legal adult who can make her own decisions. She can vote. She can join the military. And yes, she can legally buy tobacco products.

That is a lesson I learned the hard way.

Blurred Lines: Oral health and overall health

Jessica HembreeBy Jessica Hembree, HCF program officer

While also the name of a hit pop song, blurred lines is an apt summary of the recommendations stemming from HCF’s recently released oral health assessment. Oral health has traditionally been siloed apart from physical health and, unfortunately this separation has greatly impacted the cost, quality and access to oral health services.

The case for expanding Medicaid in Missouri

By Jim Heeter, President and Chief Executive Officer, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

There’s a concerted effort underway right now to convince Missouri legislators to change their collective mind and vote to expand Medicaid. Whether successful or not, expanding Medicaid is the right thing to do.

The Greater Kansas City Chamber has been fully supportive of Medicaid expansion, for two important reasons.

First, it makes good economic sense. Just look at the data:

    Navigating the ACA

    Elizabeth DarrBy Elizabeth Darr, Navigator at Shepherd's Center

    Navigators are individuals — mostly volunteers — dedicated to assisting people in signing up for health insurance plans available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare. I am one of these navigators.

    Our training consisted of 20 hours of online learning. We were required to obtain a Missouri license. There are Navigators and Certified Application Counselors working at many area clinics, but our group works at the Shepherd’s Center, supported by a grant from Primaris.

    It’s time to put progress ahead of politics

    By Mayor Sly James, mayor of Kansas City, Mo.

    People ask me what I love about being mayor of Kansas City. The answer is that I enjoy seeing the real impact of the decisions we make in City Hall. I have the opportunity to work with a strong group of people at the city – elected and staff – who want to do the right thing. If something isn’t working then we make a change. For us, what’s important is getting things done, not keeping score.

    Unfortunately, we know that hasn’t always been the case in our state capitals or Washington, DC.

    Canvassing team Covers KC

    By Tyler Menges, Canvasser for Enrollment Outreach Campaign

    With the deadline for open enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplace quickly approaching, I jumped at the opportunity to join the CoverKC team canvassing the neighborhoods in the Greater Kansas City area.

    In my opinion, access to medical care is a human right, and I feel privileged to be a member of this dedicated team going door to door, offering information about the Affordable Care Act for those who need it most.

    Smoking, prevention and New Year's Resolutions

    By Bridget McCandless, President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City

    It’s that time of year again when many of my patients are trying to quit smoking.

    My job is only to be the cheerleader because I know that they have to choose to quit for their own reasons. I’m as amazed by those who set down the pack and never look back as I am by those who are willing to keep trying to quit, despite their relapses.

    Patients tell me that when they give up their smokes it’s like saying goodbye to a friend, confidant and comforter. Some grieve the loss of their cigarettes, but no one ever grieves their ability to breathe better.