Tag Archives: Health and Human Services

Queens teen’s speech to Congress: YMCAs are powerful

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Y

As 14-year old Kayla Brathwaite sat on a train heading to the nation’s capital, she rehearsed the speech she would give in front of Congress.

Brathwaite, a resident of Ozone Park and a student at Park East High School in Manhattan, spoke in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services on March 13, urging them to continue giving $1.15 billion in funding to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Brathwaite said she’s been going to her local YMCA after-school program since she was eight and felt the need to give back to the program.

“It’s been such a large influence on my life,” Brathwaite said.

During her testimony, Brathwaite said the YMCA has influenced countless lives, including her own.

“I am here today for all youth who need these programs to succeed and for all parents who need these programs to help keep their jobs and for the employers who employ those parents,” she said in her written testimony. “We should not forget that these programs or the lack of these programs will have an effect on our economy.”

The teen has had experience in dealing with government officials in the past. Back in 2012, Brathwaite introduced First Lady Michelle Obama in Washington, D.C. at a Partnership for a Healthier America summit, an opportunity that was provided to her through the YMCA.

Currently, Brathwaite participates in the Teens Take the City program, where teens imitate how local governments work, passing laws and ordinances. She hopes to become a counselor for the upcoming summer session.

“I think the YMCA can help everybody,” she said. “If you didn’t have an opportunity to go, it’s never too late.”




Women’s health coverage improved

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Forty-seven million women just got healthier.

On August 1, preventive benefits for women, including breast and pelvic exams, HPV and HIV testing, gestational diabetes screenings and contraceptives became available, co-pay free, to all insured women.

“I think it’s great,” said Pauline Compton, an accountant from Bayside. “I think all women should be entitled to co-pay free health services, just like men. I don’t think there should be anything held back as far as health care goes. Preventive care is the best thing, and it should not be limited to anybody.”

These benefits became available to women through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed by President Barack Obama in March 2010. Before August 1, the reform included only mammograms for women over 40 and osteoporosis bone-mineral-density screenings for women over 60.

“We see the need for affordable health care every single day,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “For the one in five women who relies on Planned Parenthood at some point in her life, the preventive benefits that began rolling out [August 1] will help ease the struggle of deciding whether to pay for birth control or pay for textbooks, groceries or gas for the car.”

Under the ACA, women will no longer be required to pay more than men for health insurance and people with pre-existing conditions, including cancer, cannot be denied coverage.

The new reform also includes counseling for victims of domestic violence.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), women employed by certain religious organizations with health care sponsored by their employers are exempt from the coverage requirement.

Additional reporting by Adrienne Kurtz