The public discourse that followed this week's healthcare decision contained a litany of criticism, approbation, concern, and relief that almost entirely pertained to politics and economics. The Affordable Health Care for America Act will be framed in the context of the President's political gain, the economy's uncertainty, the effects on businesses, the relation to other countries healthcare systems, etc. All of this is simply satisfactory and in due course; however, what often gets left behind is a genuine and personal connection with individuals; individuals who's lives and livelihoods are contingent upon what seemingly foreign and impersonal lawmakers implement in Washington DC.
Hearing the concerned voice of Edward Smith, a hardworking uninsured mechanic from Mississippi, explain how neither his employer nor his ten-dollar an hour salary can afford his diabetes medication conveys in those who hear it a sense of urgency and action. Listen to part-time nurse Tracy Moncrief, who knows he cannot take himself to the hospital. Without insurance, he cannot treat a bacterial infection because of the fear of not adequately providing for his family. Witnessing their stories does not just tell us about the problems with affordable healthcare, it shows us in a relatable and consequently moving fashion how deeply this Supreme Court ruling affects real, living, breathing, tax-paying, family-supporting individuals.
So however you feel about this week's ruling, and whatever political and economic commentaries you hear in the coming weeks, remember to keep in mind Edward, Tracy, and the millions of others exactly like them who ought to be included in our thoughts and words about healthcare.