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OPINION: Expanded Healthcare Access Worth Fighting For

The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act helps to protect families from being one healthcare crisis away from bankruptcy.

The United States Supreme Court announced its decision last week to of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act (Public Law 111-148). Since this proposal was introduced by the Obama Administration in 2009, like many others, I have followed the progress of this effort to reform America’s healthcare system. As the debate was just getting started in Congress with regard to healthcare legislation, my family and I faced our own healthcare crisis, which has had a significant impact on my thinking about healthcare as an issue of .

Shortly before the September 2009 introduction of the Affordable Care Act, an unexplained lump appeared near the right ear of my then six-year old son, Alex. Not long after, we received a preliminary diagnosis indicating that the cause appeared to be lymphoma, a form of cancer that strikes the lymph nodes. As you can imagine, my wife and I were immediately consumed with doing whatever needed to be done to respond to this news.

Thankfully, the health insurance provided by my employer allowed us to seek out the very best possible medical care, provided through the caring and clinically-experienced professionals at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. My wife Patty and I never had to worry about whether we could afford the recommended tests or surgical procedures. Ultimately, the medical bills associated with this episode—from start to finish—were just under $50,000. Of this cost, everything was covered by our health insurance, minus a total of $20 in co-pays for initial doctor/specialist visits. As such, our family was able to rely on access to the best quality of care possible to help treat our son in his hour of need, without worry of having a financial crisis as a result of treatment expenses.

Throughout this time, however, I could not help but think of the millions of American citizens who were not as fortunate as my family. If a family lacking healthcare access got the sad news that we did, what could they do about it?  What resources would an uninsured child have to get the care needed to fight off lymphoma or any other disease?

Thankfully, in early October 2009, we received the happy news that the lump that Alex had was not lymphoma, and he was given a clean bill of health. Yet, as the debate over whether the ultimately successful healthcare bill raged, my family’s experience casts a new light onto the importance of real reform.  I had hoped that people across the political spectrum could agree that no American family should have to live in fear of facing the illness of a loved one without access to quality medical care. 

Even though the Affordable Care Act was ultimately signed into law, until last week its future was in doubt. Many the wisdom of aspects of the law. I simply caution doubters to consider what it would be like to have the experience that my family did, absent health insurance.  Because I wouldn't wish such a fate on anyone, I believe that healthcare reform was the right thing to do.

FIFA July 02, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Regarding the Post Office's losses, they were forced by Republicans to fund billions of dollars in pension obligations unlike any other part of government, sir. Thus creating the very losses the Republicans now whine about in a clear attempt to dissolve a union. The problem with the Post Office is they are not independent, but subject to the whim of Congress. Close a Post Office? Nuts! There are so many tiny ones near each other it is crazy. Stop Saturday delivery, you would think the world is ending. Regarding insolvency, it is just a factual matter I asked you to correct, thank you sir for doing so. Your argument on insolvency presumes no changes will be made, they must change sir or your prediction will come true.
Paul Amirault July 02, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Hi Marty, Hope all is well. Regarding why all "the stuff" as I call it in the bill? Politics is like making sausage (which I have seen) it is ugly. Is Obamacare what I wanted, no, I would have preferred Medicare for all and let me opt out of health insurance through my taxes. In my opinion the reason for the poll numbers is simply advertising. Over $200 million has been spent by Pacs, not including Fox, fighting the ACA, thus the polls. The key for changing that is to show and tell everyone exactly what the bill does and has done. We still have our wager? I have a button for you!
Tim July 02, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Except the healthcare reform's never come. There's also a reason for that, and I'll give you a hint: It's holding the majority of the House of Reps.
William Lutostanski Jr July 03, 2012 at 12:16 AM
They don't come when the Democrats hold the majority either.
Tim July 03, 2012 at 01:57 PM
William: Dems have been trying to get national health care passed for decades. granted, you or I may not agree with what they consider "reform"... it helps when you actually have a Democrat as President. That's happened just twice in the past 40 years before Obama.

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