Michelle Obama on TJMS: Celebrate Black History But There’s More To Be Done

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Michelle Obama just turned 50 and she’s looking great. The First Lady is a prime example of how health can help keep you looking and feeling great. With her Let’s Move campaign, Mrs. Obama wants to help all Americans become more aware of the importance of eating healthy and staying fit. This morning she joined the Tom Joyner Morning Show to talk about the Affordable Care Act, one of the most important pieces of legislation in her husband’s time in the White House. The Affordable Care Act makes it possible for millions of uninsured Americans to have affordable health insurance, but there are still some misconceptions about it. The best way for you to start to get more information about how the ACA can work for you is to head to the website, www.healthcare.gov and check out the options for yourself. Here’s why Mrs. Obama thinks it will be the best move you and your family can make this year.

TOM JOYNER: And on the phone is the First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Michelle Obama. Happy Black History Month.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Oh, Happy Black History Month to you all. How’s everybody doing?

Tom Joyner: Everybody’s doing good.

SYBIL WILKES : How are you doing?

JAY ANTHONY BROWN: Doing good.

TOM JOYNER: How are the girls doing?

Michelle Obama: They are growing up, and they need to stop it. (Laughter) But I can’t do anything about it.

Tom Joyner: I noticed how tall …they are. I haven’t seen them … in probably six months when I came to the birthday party and they are tall.

Michelle Obama: Yeah. They are hovering over you, aren’t they, Tom?

Tom Joyner: Yes.

Michelle Obama: Yeah, well, they come from tall parents. But they’re doing great. We’re doing well. Mom is good. You know, I know you all are being hit by the weather in Chicago and I’m thinking about you, but I have to say I’m not so sad that I’m not there. (Laughter)

Tom Joyner: Yeah, you remember those days, huh?

Michelle Obama: Oh, my gosh. I know. And with schools closing. That’s some serious stuff going on right there. They never close schools in Chicago.

Tom Joyner: In Chicago, really. No.

Michelle Obama: But we are good here. We are absolutely good here.

Sybil Wilkes: But you’re on the road and you’re talking a lot about the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Michelle Obama: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Tom Joyner: And you’re talking about education too.

Michelle Obama: We’re talking about education, because as Barack said in his State of the Union address, you know, what we have to focus on, particularly as we celebrate Black History Month, is not just the progress we’ve made but remember how much more work we have left to do. And we need to focus on increasing opportunity for everybody. And for this administration, it means healthcare through the Affordable Care Act. It means economic mobility. It means helping our young men of color. It means making sure more kids have access to college and it’s affordable. So that’s what we’re going to be focusing on, not just this month, but for the rest of this administration, and making sure that people are signing up for healthcare is critical.

Because as you all know one in five folks in the black community are uninsured. And when you don’t have insurance, you know, that means that not only are you foregoing primary care and long term care that you need. That happens in our communities. I grew up in a household where my father and grandfather would pride themselves on never going to the doctor, right? It wasn’t always a good thing. But for those who are accessing care and don’t have the means to pay for it, they’re saddled with enormous debt as a result of uncompensated care. And now with the ACA that’s a thing of the past. Millions of Americans are going to be able to access affordable healthcare, but people have to access it.

Sybil Wilkes: And things are good online.

Michelle Obama: Yeah, the website issues have been improved.

Tom Joyner: Has Mrs. Robinson tested it?

Michelle Obama: (Laughs)

Tom Joyner: That’s what I need to know. If she can work it, I know it’s fixed.

J. Anthony Brown: That it’s user friendly.

Michelle Obama: We’ve talked to a lot of people who found that going on it it’s easy, the language on the website is easy to understand, but it’s important for people to know that the website provides people with access to private insurance plans. There’s a myth out there that somehow the ACA is about government insurance. But this is just giving people options to affordable plans where private insurers are competing with each other. And because they’re competing and everybody could look and understand what one insurance plan is offering versus another, it makes them more competitive, which means that the costs come down. So right now, the average person can get insurance for less than $100 a month. And that’s what I’m telling folks. It’s like, you know, for less than a cellphone bill, or the cost of a pair of tennis shoes, people can have the peace of mind that we need and the access to the preventative care our community needs so that we are healthy and in the position to hold down jobs and get our education.

And I’m really stressing that we need young people to sign up for insurance. And that’s what I’ve been asking the women in our communities to talk to your young men, to talk to the young women in your lives and understand that our kids cannot walk around thinking that they’re invincible. And that they’re not going to fall and slip on a piece of ice, or step on a piece of glass at the club. And, you know, if you don’t have insurance, you’re going to go to the emergency room and you’re going to walk out with thousands of dollars of debt that will stay with you for life. Which is what’s happening in our community. People, as I said, are saddled with uncompensated care. And there’s just no reason for it now. I’m trying to tell young people you have to insure your car in this country, correct?

Sybil Wilkes: Mm-hmm.

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