Health care act funds Oklahoma City program

(CBS News) OKLAHOMA CITY - Republicans are hoping to win both the White House and the Senate to help repeal President Obama's Affordable Care Act. One provision is a program targeting chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In Oklahoma City, the money's already being put to use.

Oklahoma County health worker Michael Bailey wants to transform his own little corner of the word: the neighborhood where he grew up.

He's part of a program providing free medical care to residents suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes or other risk factors in an area of low-income families with few healthy choices around them and little encouragement.

"I think a lot of the people over here," said Bailey, "because of the poverty level, that the health is of a concern, but it comes after things such as food, clothes, jobs."

This wellness program got a major funding boost from the Affordable Care Act. Over $700,000 dollars per year will flow into the program for the next five years.

In a city dubbed one of the fattest cities in American by Men's Fitness magazine, Mayor Mick Cornett says healthy changes are crucial. He's prioritized projects to make downtown streets more pedestrian-friendly. Five years ago, he put the entire city on a diet after battling obesity himself.

"I started examining not just my situation, but this city's situation," said Cornett. "Why was our culture conducive to being overweight?"

Former athlete Kim Golson lost a leg to complications from diabetes. The program convinced him that he had to change his eating habits and get back to exercising.

Asked if it was something he knew before, he said: "Well, some of it I knew, but some of it you're still kind of ignorant too, because some of the stuff you just don't want to do."

"The overreaching goal is people to become more healthy," said Bailey. "I don't like when you step out into the community, you see lots of overweight people."

But he might inspire them himself. Since he started working in the program, he's lost 15 pounds.

  • Anna Werner

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