What do 3 million kids, 6 million seniors have in common?

September 11, 2013

CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, praised the components of the ACA that have already been rolled out and emphasized that a number of provisions have already made in impact. He spoke at a September 10 gathering at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

They are benefiting from implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, praised the components of the ACA that have already been rolled out and emphasized that a number of provisions have already made in impact. He spoke at a September 10 gathering at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “CDC data show that 3 million kids now have health insurance coverage through their parents’ plans who would not have otherwise. Six million seniors are not paying co-payments for drugs that they would be paying otherwise,” he added. The Affordable Care Act will help more Americans prevent and mitigate high blood pressure and high cholesterol and have access to smoking cessation treatments, according to Frieden. “In addition, there are many aspects of the law that reduce co-payments for preventive services. It always seemed crazy to me, but we at CDC spent millions of dollars encouraging people to get mammograms, and then [patients had] their co-payments, which we know reduce utilization. It just didn't make sense. So now that's no longer happening,” Frieden said. Impact of vaccinations When asked about some Americans’ resistance to vaccines of all types, Frieden said the solution is to be completely transparent. “One of the great ways to deal with resistance is data. Our approach…is to be completely up front, to understand that people have concerns, to post all of the adverse events on the internet so anyone can see them,” Frieden said. Vaccines are preventing millions of deaths annually in the United States and around the world, Frieden stressed. “They pay for about $10 billion in healthcare savings, and about $70 billion in societal savings. The ROI for vaccines in this country is about 3:1 for healthcare costs and about 10:1 for societal costs. So they're a tremendous success story,” he said. Still, Frieden is “quite concerned” about human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations. “We're currently at less than one third of the girls in this country who should be vaccinated. Now, the country of Rwanda is at over 85% in their target population. If we were at 85% in this country, there would be 50,000 fewer girls aged zero to 12 today who would develop cervical cancer over the course of their lifetime,” Frieden said. Frieden is optimistic that HPV vaccinations will increase with team-based care and support from clinicians. “The greatest reason for people not being vaccinated often is that doctors haven't sufficiently made the case to them, and made clear that this is a routine vaccination,” he said.