Stop celebrating and get to work

00_DrEFayeWilliamsThe morning of June 25, 2015 brought us another civil rights milestone.  On that day, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare,” and gave it a new lease on life.

Likeminded friends and I shared the news.  It was a day of jubilation that equaled or surpassed any other day in recent memory regarding healthcare.  I‘m still abuzz, and I’m positive about the healthcare outcomes of millions of my fellow Americans.

A giant step
Obamacare is one giant step toward unshackling the chains of corporate oppression from the masses.

It removes millions from the ranks that the uncaring, who already have the best of care, designate as acceptable casualties.  Those who’ve become more well off than a good life requires often made it to where they are on the backs of the very people they would now deny the right to have a decent health plan.  There is a great deal to celebrate!

Before Obamacare, millions of poor Americans, including poor White people, flooded the nation’s emergency rooms for their primary care.  They had no choice.  In the past, Americans visiting emergency rooms witnessed numerous patients with non-critical ailments or ailments which could have been more appropriately managed in a doctor’s office.

In those cases, immediate medical care was not denied at the emergency room.  Those without insurance or unable to pay for their care were treated anyway.  Anyone can understand that someone had to pay.  Payments for those medical services were made through the general tax fund of local jurisdictions, and those costs were extended to all taxpaying citizens of each emergency room’s respective jurisdiction.  Whatever your opinion of Obamacare, every taxpaying citizen will realize relief from a tax burden that few choose to acknowledge.

One of the pre-Obamacare catastrophes was the inability to obtain insurance coverage for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.  Individuals whose medical insurance was a part of their employment package could not be re-insured if they had a disqualifying medical condition.

More than a small number of individuals and families fell into bankruptcy as a consequence of pre-existing medical conditions.  We have heard stories of people dying because they could not afford insulin or some other regularly used medication. There are stories of young people having no insurance because while in college or before they were able to find a job, they were not covered under the plan of their parents.

Obamacare’s new lease on life is less than two years long if a Republican is elected President and the Republicans retain their majorities in Congress.  That’s where the GET TO WORK comes into play.

Republicans have shown their hatred for the president and his signature healthcare plan. They’ve made more than 50 attempts to repeal it without offering a replacement plan.  Some have resigned themselves to the fact that they’ll have to live with the law until they control the legislative and executive branches.

We must do the work now to elect officials who will protect Obamacare. We hold the destiny of our health in our hands.  Republicans have shown they’ll take it away if we allow them to do so. We must begin working today to keep it.

Dr. E. Faye Williams is national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Contact her via www.nationalcongressbw.org.

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