Today you have a vote that can save a life, perhaps hundreds. Just ask a patient of ours who recently confided that her life was saved by a new health policy in Massachusetts. Like the Affordable Care Act (ACA)--or Obamacare as critics call it--the Massachusetts legislation helped everyone get the opportunity to obtain insurance and created insurance exchanges that made sure individuals did not suffer because they were not part of large employer plans.
Health policy may seem boring, but its consequences are not. Access to health insurance meant that our patient was able to see a physician and get a diagnosis of cervical cancer before it was too advanced to be treated. Instead, health insurance allowed her the opportunity to receive treatment early enough to make a full recovery.
Today, for millions of patients, such a positive recovery is threatened. Funding for the ACA is contingent on congressional appropriations bills. If Republicans take control of the congress, they can cut off funding to pay for the acts most critical aspects as outlined in a New England Journal of Medicine article.
At risk are:
Funds for states to create health insurance exchanges. Individuals might not have access to quality insurance plans that meet specific standards without the exchanges. Politicians and their staffers will have access to great plans, but the small business owner and his/her employees will not.
Funding for comparative effectiveness research, so your doctors have information to compare treatments and offer patients the most effective cures.
Funding to help states enroll eligible citizens who are eligible for government supported plans.
There has been a lot of partisan name-calling this election. I've spoken with angry people on both sides. Unfortunately, anger isn't going to improve our economy, nor will it help our patients when they're sick. If you have a vote tomorrow, use it.
Make sure your candidate supports the goals of the ACA and is ready to fight for its implementation. Who after all, would challenge expanding coverage and helping people receive the care they deserve? Our current life expectancy and infant mortality rank us in the mid 20s, implementing the ACA will help us move up on that list, obstructing it, will harm more than our health statistics, it will harm our patients.
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