The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. By interpreting the individual mandate as a tax, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. cast the deciding vote allowing for it. By rejecting the White House's argument that the mandate was legal under the Commerce Clause, Roberts also put to rest any worries that the government might make us eat broccoli.
Although short on efficient solutions to bring down the costs of a health care system run by corporations (not really a system but a cobbled-together-high-stakes-life-and-death-mess), the Affordable Care Act ruling is a landmark decision for our country. A giant step in the right direction.
Last week, I was in my doctor's office for my annual physical. I sat in the waiting room and watched as patient after patient checked in at the window and tried to pay. Each one was told, they didn't have to. Their visits were now covered. Every one of them stared in silence, not comprehending. How could this be true after years, decades, of paying more and more and more at every visit?
It's true because President Obama made it happen. News pundits are yammering about what Obama "gave up" by making concessions that mean the ACA must roll out over the next two years. Don't listen. For myself, who had my own uncomprehending moment standing at my doctor's window holding my wallet, and every single person who has put off preventative care because it's not in the budget, the ACA is already here.
If you are overdue for a physical or a mammogram or any of these screenings, call your doctor and make an appointment. These preventative screenings must be covered with no copay and no decutible within a network provider. If you can't afford health insurance and have given up hope click here. Many low cost and free programs are being improved under the ACA. This is big. Embrace it.
Change has come.
Here is a partial list of what the Affordable Care Act means to you:
1. Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive
2. Insurance companies can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions.
3. Insurance companies can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick.
4. Insurance companies can no longer jack up your premiums without reason.
5. Insurance companies are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms.
6. Young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parent’s health care plans.
7. Seniors receive a discount on prescription drugs.
8. New approval pathways for generic biological drugs.
9. More community health centers and grants for nursing and other medical education opportunities.
10. Nearly 13 million of us will receive a rebate from our insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses, and not enough on your health care.
In case you missed it, watch President Obama use the verb "jack up." How cool.
Visit Healthcare.gov for more information on the Affordable Care Act, its easy-to-navigate website alone is cause for celebration.