1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204
Staying healthy helps us each maintain a high quality of life, but controlling the cost of health care also matters to all of us as a community. Rising health care costs make it more and more expensive to do business in our community.
We can all do our part to help control costs by taking an active role in our own health and wellness. If you have any questions, please contact Bryan Hockaday in my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 503-823-4682. I hope you see you Thursday!
To good health!
Commissioner Steve Novick
City of Portland, Oregon
Today, Mayor Hales and I hosted a discussion about the Medicaid expansion that will happen on January 1, 2014, under the Affordable Care Act. Under this expansion, 96,000 people in Multnomah County will be newly eligible for Medicaid or a subsidy to purchase health insurance through the new health care exchange, Cover Oregon.
Oregon Health Authority Director Dr. Bruce Goldberg helped kick off this discussion, which included representatives from Multnomah County, the two new Coordinated Care Organizations in our community, and three service providers: Central City Concern, Volunteers of America, and DePaul Family Services.
The 2014 Medicaid expansion means that our community has the opportunity to take advantage of an infusion of new federal funds that we can use to improve the health of our community and eliminate barriers to accessing health care. For example, this expansion creates the chance to ensure that people who are involved in the criminal justice system and who struggle with mental health and addictions problems can get the care and treatment they need.
By keeping people healthy and out of the criminal justice system, we can save both the City and County resources. Today’s discussion was an important first step to doing the planning that we need to do to take advantage of the new federal resources. Today we identified several important questions that we need to answer, and I look forward to continuing to work with all of our safety net partners on this effort.
President Obama’s appointment of Charlotte, NC Mayor Anthony Foxx as Transportation Secretary is an opportunity to reflect on the link between mass transit and health outcomes. Although the link between bicycling and health is obvious, it is less obvious – but still true – that people who use transit tend to be healthier than people who drive to work, simply because walking to a transit stop gives you more exercise taking a car curb to curb. And it was a study in Mayor Foxx’s city, in conjunction with the building of a light-rail system, which proved that link.
As reported in Science Daily,
Using two surveys, one collecting data prior to the completion of an LRT [Light Rail Transit] in Charlotte, North Carolina, the second after completion, investigators found that using light rail for commuting was associated with reductions in body mass index (BMI) over time. Specifically, LRT reduced BMI by an average of 1.18 kg/m2 compared to non-LRT users in the same area over a 12-18 month follow-up period. This is equivalent to a relative weight loss of 6.45 lbs for a person who is 5'5. LRT users were also 81% less likely to become obese over time.
So as Public Health Month comes to a close, take a moment to think about that connection between transit and health.