Your Weekly Dose of Health March 27, 2015

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Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. President Obama marked the occasion with a speech at the White House in which he cited the law’s success, stating that the ACA cut the number of uninsured Americans by a third.

The United Hospital Fund released a report examining the expected effects of the small group insurance expansion. On January 1st 2016 groups of up to 100 employees will be able to join the small group market. The small group market is currently capped at 50. House Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-Kentucky) and Tony Cardenas (D-California) proposed legislation that would keep the current maximum the stable at 50 employees.

Paid family leave has gotten a lot of attention in New York, since the Senate proposed a version of it as part of their one-house budget. The Assembly has since passed its own bill, while the governor said he will study the issue. At a recent hearing, witnesses said the program would have to come with an overhaul of the state’s disability insurance system.

New York State of Health, the state’s official ACA marketplace, released an FAQ to help consumers understand the nuances of special enrollment periods.

The 2015 County Health Rankings were release this week. The rankings show that the majority of counties saw a drop in premature deaths.

NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray and First Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Babot announced a mental health texting pilot program. Teenagers at the 10 high schools affiliated with the pilot program can get emotional support and general information by texting “NYC Teen” to 65173.

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Bronx has seen its health improving in a number of areas.