This Father's Day, the most important thing to me is to celebrate it with my children. As a father of two, I know the struggles that many families face in this tough economy and share in the hopes and desires for a better future for all our kids.
Almost all fathers share two big worries: Will our children be able to lead healthy and productive lives, and will we be there to witness and support their transformation into outstanding adults? We worry whether they will be able to grow up in safe neighborhoods with good schools, live in a clean environment, and prosper in a turbulent economy. We always want what is best for them, and we work hard to ensure that their futures are much brighter than our own.
The future holds many uncertainties, but today there is one thing we can be certain about -- our children will have quality health care thanks to the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act. The law enacts many benefits for children and their fathers (and mothers), and these benefits are all at stake if the Supreme Court decides to overturn the ACA this month.
Much has been said about what is now known as "Obamacare" -- and much of it is simply not true. The conservative talking points that get many riled up -- "government takeover of health care" or "death panels" -- simply serve as a distraction from the truth of what the law has already accomplished.
What if I told you that young adults can stay on their family's health care plans until the age of 26? This is true -- fathers don't have to worry that after college graduation, their sons and daughters will be without health care as they search for jobs in this tough economy. Already, over 2.5 million young adults nationwide have been allowed to stay on their parents' coverage. In New York alone, over 150,000 young adults gained coverage because of health care reform.
Now that is good social policy!
We also don't have to worry about our children being turned away from the hospital and denied insurance because of "pre-existing conditions," such as having diabetes or having undergone treatment for a particular illness. Starting in 2014, no one will have to fear being denied coverage or dropped from their health plans at any moment. Health care reform is definitely on our side, not on the side of insurance companies.
And to ensure that fathers will be around for a long time -- to be able to witness college graduation, walk our daughters down the aisle, or watch our grandkids' first steps -- the ACA allows us to get preventative care, without a co-pay, to tackle any health problems before they arise. Screenings for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and other preventable illnesses, are all available for free during annual wellness check-ups. Mothers can also receive preventative services such as mammograms and cervical cancer screenings.
These benefits are far cries from the "death panels" that opponents try to associate with Obamacare. I'm still not sure how "death panels" are linked with more children gaining health insurance, seniors receiving discounts on their prescription drugs, and men and women receiving preventative care for free -- I think we should start calling it "health panels" instead.
Our Brooklyn neighborhoods, families and children are all impacted by health care reform. The ACA is making a real difference today to ensure a healthier future for all. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed by the Supreme Court, our children will lose many valuable benefits. The repercussions are enormous and many lives are on the line.
I hope that all fathers, on this year's Father's Day and beyond, will join me in standing up for health care reform and all of its benefits. It is one way to ensure that all our children have a chance to lead healthy and successful lives.
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