First Lady Asks Nurses to Spread the Word About Affordable Care Act

By Penny Starr | September 29, 2010 | 4:45 PM EDT

First lady Michelle Obama discusses the findings of the Childhood Obesity Task Force report in May. (AP Photo)

( – In a “listen only” telephone conference call on Tuesday, First Lady Michelle Obama told nurses they need to help Americans learn about the benefits of the new health care law, which President Barack Obama signed in March.

“But in order for this law to make a real difference in people’s lives, we have to make sure that people know about these reforms and that they take advantage of them,” Michelle Obama said. “And that’s why we need your help in spreading the word.

“So, we’re asking you all to get involved in this outreach effort,” the first lady said. “Talk to your patients about how these reforms can help them.

“Also, talk to your colleagues about the best ways to inform patients about what this new law means for them and for their families,” Obama said.

Michelle Obama also said that she and the president “know firsthand the crucial role nurses play in our nation’s health care system” by recalling the role they played when their daughter Sasha was diagnosed with meningitis at the age of 4 months.

The first lady referenced the six-month anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and how some elements of the law are being implemented, including requiring insurance companies to cover children with pre-existing conditions and not placing limits on how long patients with diseases such as cancer can have treatment costs covered.

“Now, all this means that individuals and families have more control over their health care,” said Obama, adding that the reforms put in place by the law “aren’t abstract theories that make good talking points” but “real changes” that will benefit all Americans.

The first lady referred to her “Let’s Move” initiative to fight childhood obesity, noting that routine measurement of children’s Body Mass Index (BMI) will be covered under the law and will “help parents make better decisions about their children’s health.”

Obama credited nurses with helping to get the health care law passed and said that their help is needed again.

“From the very beginning, it’s been nurses who have sat at the table sharing your ideas, sharing your concerns and your experiences,” Obama said. “And as a result, all of you have helped to make this law even better.  So I want to thank you for that. And we needed your help then and we need your help again to spread the word.”

Reporters were allowed to listen to the conference call, but not allowed to ask questions.