January 17, 2014
Observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day
A statement by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Today, we honor the remarkable life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of fighting for racial equality, human rights and economic justice. Dr. King believed deeply that people of every race, religion and creed should have the opportunity to share in the American dream. His courageous leadership on civil rights included a passionate advocacy on behalf of the poor. Dr. King memorably described inequality in health care as the “most shocking and inhumane” form of injustice. These words continue to resonate, as there is nothing more essential to opportunity than good health.
A child who can’t focus in school because of untreated asthma or a painful cavity is denied the opportunity to learn and realize his or her full potential.
A parent who is unable to work because of untreated high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease is denied the opportunity to provide for his or her family.
The door of opportunity is closed when a family goes into bankruptcy to pay for a sick child’s medical care.
When a young adult has to give up a promising entrepreneurial dream because of the cost of health insurance, he or she is denied the opportunity to realize his or her full potential.
And without the security of affordable, quality health insurance, there is no economic security for the millions of Americans working hard every day to make ends meet.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, it’s a new day in health care that is bringing new security and opening new doors of opportunity. Across the nation, millions of Americans are signing up for quality, affordable health insurance through the new Health Insurance Marketplace.
Thanks to rights and protections guaranteed by the health care law, millions of individuals no longer have to worry about their coverage running out when they need it most. Insurers can no longer refuse to offer coverage because of a preexisting condition, like high blood pressure, heart disease or asthma. And no woman can be charged more for coverage just because she’s a woman.
As we celebrate the inspirational life of Dr. King, please join us in this historic effort by helping your friends, neighbors, and loved ones get covered through the Marketplace.
Open enrollment continues through March 31 and there are many ways to sign up for a plan: online at HealthCare.gov; by phone at 1-800-318-2596/TTY 1-855-889-4325, on paper, and through an agent, broker, or issuer. You also can find in-person help in your community at localhelp.healthcare.gov.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: January 17, 2014