Thursday, June 28, 2012 by a 5-4 vote, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA). President Barack Obama in remarks said that the court's historic decision "reaffirmed a fundamental principle, that here in America, the wealthiest nation on Earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family's financial ruin."
The Court's decision ensured that in Washington, DC, a city where the temperatures have already reached into the hundreds, the political debates of the summer leading up to the presidential election will only get hotter. But as the president said candidly, "I didn't do this because it was good politics. I did it because it was good for the American people."
It is now the law of the land, and an American right. Affordable health care is coming for all Americans. There will be those who speak of costs. But will they also mention that studies for years have placed Americans behind many developed countries in health care performance. A World Health Organization's study in 2000 stated that, "The U.S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country, but ranks 37 out of 191 countries according to its performance."
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in his remarks, that if elected, his first act as president, will be to repeal the law. Yet his signature rests on the Massachusetts bill used as a framework for the ACA. And Massachusetts ranks first in the number of people uninsured at 5 percent in the nation.
There are many Americans who will be voicing their opposition to the ACA. President Franklin Roosevelt and almost every president after him faced huge opposition when attempting to pass a universal health care law. As with many things, change can be slow to happen. Let's remember Medicare and provisions of the New Deal were hotly contested. Today, they are major staples in our Great Society.
So as the summer months pass, and Tuesday, November 6, 2012 approaches, it is important that before engaging in the political debate, we first embrace a new American right: affordable health care. And encourage every American to learn how this act seeks to improve the overall health outcomes of every American. Below are some provisions of the act you should know.
• If you are one of the 250 million Americans who have health insurance this Act protects you.
• Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive.
• Can no longer discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions.
• Can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick.
• Can no longer increase your premium without reason.
• Are required to provide free preventative care like checkups and mammograms.
• Insurance companies are required to provide a rebate if they spend too much money on administrative costs and CEO bonuses and not enough on your health care.
• Children can stay on their parent's health care plans until they are 26; and
• Seniors receive a discount on their Medicare cost, saving an average of 600 dollars a year.