This fall, a woman in her 50s came into my office. Her parents had recently immigrated to the United States, and she turned to the Washtenaw Health Plan to help them access health coverage.
She saw the "War is not healthy for children and other living things" poster hanging on my wall.
She said to me, "That is so true. When I was two years old, my country [her birthplace] was in the middle of a civil war. My parents could not get me vaccines--and that's why I got polio."
She left my office 15 minutes later--having got the assistance she needed for her parents' health care--and she walked away with a limp. . . the result of the polio she got as a child.
I was reminded of this story when I saw some photos of the 60th anniversary of the Salk polio vaccine, including one that features a Washtenaw County Public Health employee.
[Shout-out to my alma mater: Jonas Salk did post-graduate training at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and the Salk vaccine announcement was made at the University of Michigan. If you are interested, I have inserted a short Emmy-award winning video about the polio vaccine below.]
And did you know that because of the Affordable Care Act's emphasis on preventive services, most vaccines (those recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) are free to you? That's right--no co-pays, no cost sharing.
Signing up for health coverage? It might be free.
Accessing health care in a place free of war? Priceless.