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Welcome to the world of health care

By FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA | 3/14/2014, 1:12 p.m.
On March 5, first lady Michelle Obama talked about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act at the Jessie Trice ...
Remarks by first lady Michelle Obama as prepared for delivery

On Wednesday, March 5, first lady Michelle Obama talked about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act at the Jessie Trice Community Health Center Inc. in Miami.

The following is a transcript:

Well, I just happened to be in the neighborhood, and I thought I would come by to check up on you. But one of the reasons why I’m here is that I want to thank all of you, all these assisters, because I think it’s so important for people to understand at this point in signing up for the Affordable Care Act—because sign-up ends at the end of this month. That’s important for people to know. 

But what you guys are doing here is making sure that people who need help signing up, working their way through the website, through the process so that folks don’t have to go it alone, because some folks might be a little intimidated to come, get online and make the phone call.

This is all new to so many people. But because of places like this community health center—and there are thousands of them across the country that are providing the same type of assistance that you all are doing here—because of your work, we’ve got 4 million people who have signed up for health care, and that is a milestone. That’s a very good thing. 

And you all know, because you work in the community health world, how important it is for folks in our communities to have primary preventative care. It is at the core of keeping us whole as people. And in the African-American community, unfortunately, one in five of us are not insured, and the numbers are no better in the Hispanic community.

And you all know what that means: It [means] that people are going without treatment for diabetes; they aren’t getting the medicine they need; they aren’t getting regular checkups; they’re not getting proper guidance with regard to nutrition. The Affordable Care Act is a life-changer for so many Americans who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford insurance.

And what people should understand is that the average adult will be able to get insurance for less than $100 a month. That’s a pair of gym shoes. That’s less than a cellphone bill. And for young people who are around 26 or so, those young folks can probably find a plan for as little as $50 a month. 

And that’s also one of the things I want to point out, is that it is so important for our young people to sign up, because we all know that young people think they’re invincible: “I don’t need insurance, why should I spend that amount of money a month? I’m healthy. I’m not going to. I don’t need to go to the doctor on a regular basis.” But the reality is, for those of us who are mothers and grandmothers and aunts and uncles, we know that anything can happen in life, especially for young people. And the notion [is] that we have our most precious people walking around here [who] at any point in time could get hit by a car, could get struck down by an unforeseen illness, and they will not be able to get the care that they need when it costs so little right now.