Photo by Whitehouse.gov

Paid sick leave. Reproductive care. Climate change. Ebola. And of course, the Affordable Care Act.

President Barack Obama highlighted key public health issues last night in his 2015 State of the Union address last night. At the forefront was the ACA’s impact, which Obama said helped roughly 10 million uninsured Americans gain health coverage in 2014.

“More of our people are insured than ever before,” Obama said.

The U.S. response to the Ebola epidemic is not done, Obama said, but he “couldn’t be prouder” of the Americans who led efforts to save lives and prevent further spread of the outbreak, including troops, scientists, doctors, nurses and health care workers. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier this month, a mix of great progress and continued risk is being seen in the most-affected nations of West Africa: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

“The world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective global effort to prevent the spread of future pandemics,” Obama said.

Here are more public health highlights from the State of the Union:

On paid sick leave: “Today, we’re the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. Forty-three million workers have no paid sick leave … So I’ll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own. And since paid sick leave won where it was on the ballot last November, let’s put it to a vote right here in Washington. Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave. It’s the right thing to do.” Read APHA’s statement on paid sick leave.

On climate change:  “2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record … Over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it.  That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history.  And that’s why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts.” Check out APHA’s infographic on climate change.

On reproductive care: “We still may not agree on a woman’s right to choose, but surely we can agree it’s a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the health care she needs.”

On health reform: “We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance,” Obama said, promising to veto any bill that would do so. He added that health care inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years.