Behind the healthcare debate

All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida

Long last, the decision everyone was waiting for. The Supreme Court voted 5 – 4 on Thursday to uphold President Obama’s healthcare law, the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA).

Since ACA was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, quite a few very important parts have already gone into effect.

• Providing small business health insurance Tax Credit

• Relief for millions of seniors in the Medicare Prescription Drug “Donut Hole”

• Providing access to insurance for uninsured Americans w/ pre-existing conditions

• Extended coverage for young adults to stay on parent’s plan till age 26

• Providing free preventative care

• Eliminating lifetime limits

• Prohibiting denying coverage of children based on pre-existing conditions

• Prescription drug discounts

• Free preventive care for seniors

Much of this has been overshadowed and misunderstood due to continuous debates and the ongoing effort to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act better known as, “Obamacare”.

The Republican Campaign in 2010 focused greatly on a total repeal, signing pledges and stating their mission if elected would be this repeal and making sure Obama was a one term President.

As they campaigned, it wasn’t about what they could do to improve our nation, their states or what jobs they would actually focus on once they were seated in Washington. Their focus was on what they could undo and how they could use tactics to somehow tarnish Obama’s first term in office to hopefully make it his only term in office.

The way this Congress has been operating is exactly the way the 2010 candidates presented themselves during their campaigns. They ran on misinformation, desperation and what became a popular and easy idea because of them, REPEAL!

What did the American people get? Voter’s remorse maybe? But, a large number of Americans are also getting insurance benefits they did not have and that is due to the Affordable Care Act these same Republicans have and are still trying to in some way repeal.

As the Supreme Court’s decision came in, it was clear there would be statements from both sides. This debate has gone on for this long and is a topic that not only has an effect on the lives of so many Americans but has also caused such an ongoing divide amongst a large number of individuals as well. The idea of that should be troubling but it seems to be feeding an ongoing debate that often times the media is playing into.

The divisions are often based on misunderstandings of the law or due to social and economical differences. These differences are not new and often come up in other issues as well. The idea is to bridge gaps not feed into the source causing them.

The first need is to understand what the Affordable Care Act is and what it is not. Stay informed.

The second thing is to not only consider the needs of the American people now but also in the future. Understand that things happen in life that people could never plan on.

Example: One day, without notice a person can suffer a massive heart attack, have a stroke or be diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, cancer or come down chronically ill with something that makes them unable to work, continue day to day activity or even be given the news they are facing death. Most people do not want to think this can happen to them and certainly one would hope this doesn’t happen to anyone.

When something like this occurs however, life takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly the focus is on the illness, treatments, doctor and hospital visits and most everything else is on the back burner. This is a time of extreme uncertainty.

This situation happens all across America, everyday. This affects working families, single income families with or without insurance, every economic level, any race, any religion and at any time.

Things that should not be happening are insurance companies taking advantage of people getting sick by denying treatments and/or medications ordered by the doctor, hiking up rates on patients because they are receiving treatment and/or setting annual or lifetime dollar limits on a patient’s coverage.

These tactics make medical cost for insured patients unaffordable. They also shouldn’t be able to deny someone coverage because they happened to survive their heart attack, stroke, cancer or are living with asthma, diabetes or other illnesses they consider to be “pre-existing”.

Everyone should agree to this. That is simple.

Healthcare is a must for everyone. It shouldn’t depend on your age, your economic status or whether you are coming down sick or in really serious condition. A person is more likely to stay behind their health with health insurance than without. Chronic conditions need to be managed or they can become life-threatening. Many viruses could be better managed if more people received flu shots and many conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol could be kept under control before more serious conditions arose due to either a person not knowing about the condition or the lack of available treatment.

Overall, people do not like getting sick, enjoy feeling better even if they may dislike or are nervous to visit a doctor.

Soon after the Supreme Court’s decision, Mitt Romney made a statement. Part of his statement was this. “If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have to replace President Obama. My mission is to make sure we do exactly that. That we return to the American people the privilege they’ve always had to live their lives in the way they feel most appropriate. Where we don’t pass on to coming generations massive deficits and debt, where we don’t have a setting where jobs are lost.”

The problem with that statement is a great number of people are not able to live the way they feel “appropriate” or even acceptable. Many people have to decide between getting prescriptions filled or to putting gas in the car, paying utility bills or buying groceries. A large number of families have lost homes due to medical bills or living expenses while overseeing a loved one’s medical care. Others skip going to the doctor at all together because often times they can’t afford the visit, are without insurance coverage, or the deductibles have become so large due to adjustments made trying to bring the monthly premium down.

On the idea of passing down “deficit and debts, plenty of Americans have taken out multiple mortgages on homes to pay for medical cost and/or cover expenses for time out of work during medical treatments for themselves or their loved one. That is a huge financial crisis for a family and a burden that will pass along to their children most likely.

Often times it is said that to know what someone else is going through, you’d have to walk a mile in their shoes. It shouldn’t take a mile or a “pair of shoes”. This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats, winners or losers and it isn’t about the rich or the poor or the ones in the middle.

This is about all Americans and humanity.

It is also about looking ahead and being prepared.

A person or a family should not have to go broke to take care of medical expenses.

More sadly, a family shouldn’t have to lose a home while going through the loss of a loved one.

Anyone should be able to take their child to the doctor and receive quality care when they are ill.

Everyone should be able to receive quality care for chronic illnesses and not worry they may be dropped from their insurance company because they are sick.

When a family or anyone is facing a tragedy, our Country should have in place a system that shows we are a Nation with high quality care and we value each Citizen as well as our morals, unity and integrity. It should be a standard we set and a statement we are proud to stand by. It shouldn’t be an issue fought over in Washington but instead a value protected year after year.

After all, looking after the American people is their job and our future.