The Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare policy passed by the Obama administration, will have an impact positively or negatively on all Americans, whether you are white, black, brown, or yellow. Obama Care, as the policy is labeled, seeks to significantly increase the number of Americans who have healthcare coverage.
Isn’t that a positive, a good thing? If not, why not? Isn’t having access to healthcare services a need we share in common?
The sad fact is access to adequate health insurance coverage is still out of reach for many Americans, more than 47 million and counting with the persistent unemployment rate. However, ever since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the non-stop partisan clamor to repeal it continues, with lawsuits filed against it. And, lo and behold, it is now in front of the Supreme Court for a decision on its constitutionality.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court issues its ruling. What is most at stake is the provision that mandates all individuals get some type of health insurance. What is wrong with that provision? Isn’t having car insurance a requirement?
The bill has many important provisions, among them not allowing discrimination for those who might have a pre-existing condition, no co-pay costs for seeking preventive care, allowing children to stay on their parent’s policy until age 25, a great value for those college years. But there are other needed provisions.
Evidence abounds that we all pay — one way or the other — when emergency rooms and urgent care centers fill with patients who either, have limited or no insurance at all. They do no have the means to access preventive or primary care, preventing a minor illness from becoming a catastrophic incident or an acute episode becoming a chronic disease.
So why wouldn’t there be policy measures to not only provide healthcare services for most Americans, while also trying to identify and manage the continued upward spiral of healthcare costs?
It is not secret who makes up the uninsured in this country. Blacks, Hispanics, low-income whites, and their children make up the greatest number.
And no, not all of these people are on welfare. Many work two jobs to make ends meet. The problem is that many have jobs that do not offer health insurance as a benefit. So the hard worker not only works hard but also cannot afford a day off if he/she becomes sick. So often, acute and minor health problems turn into chronic and catastrophic diseases.
There are also long-term, cyclical consequences. Among the many challenges poorer children face everyday, imagine them performing at their best in school when they aren’t feeling well and their parent’s cannot afford a doctor’s visit or the medications to knock out a common childhood infection or illness. Imagine the unnecessary suffering among the poor elderly.
While we are in a serious economic recession, America is still one of the richest nations on earth. It begs the question, why do so many Americans lack adequate healthcare coverage? And, why was there such a partisan political divide to try to find a solution that had both positive humanitarian and fiscal outcomes?
Making a concerted effort to reduce the number of uninsured and underinsured should be a part of the legislative agenda at all levels of government.
If the Supreme Court strikes down Obama Care, every American should demand of their elected official’s specifics about what they plan to put in its place, should they remain in office. Listen carefully to their answers. What is their plan for making healthcare coverage available for forty-seven million Americans?
Do not waste your vote on anyone who does not answer. The health of too many Americans, present and future generations, is at stake.