This Fourth of July, God Bless America and the Affordable Care Act
By Daniel Zingale
It’s the greatest legal victory for America’s health in our nation’s history.
By upholding the Affordable Care Act, the US Supreme Court paved the way for a new era in health care in this country, one that matches our aspirations to greatness, our sense of fairness and — maybe most of all — our passion for innovation.
•When the law goes into effect in 2014, Americans will no longer have to worry about where we’ll get affordable and quality coverage if we lose our jobs and our COBRA coverage runs out.
•We’ll no longer be stranded on a deserted health care island if our children or we have a pre-existing condition.
•Seniors on Medicare, 4 million of whom live in California, will no longer have to worry about prescription drug costs that too often fell into the “doughnut hole.”
•Recent graduates, just entering the workforce, will continue to be covered through their parents’ health insurance and will no longer have to worry about losing health care while also trying to find a job.
•With near universal access to health care coverage, some 45 million Americans, including 7 million Californians, will no longer have to worry about choosing between putting food on the table and paying doctors’ bills.
Until the Affordable Care Act, uncompensated care — emergency room treatment for people without insurance — was on track to cost our nation $141 billion by the end of the decade.
With everyone paying his or her fair share, we can now create a more affordable and accessible health care system.
This new system embodies the great American tradition of applying common sense to seemingly unsolvable problems. It fills the potholes and paves the road to health security for almost every American and, in doing so, makes our nation stronger and more productive.
But there’s a key element of the Affordable Care Act that few Americans know about: The law’s landmark prevention provisions.
Now — at no cost — key preventive care such as screenings for cancer and heart disease, mammograms and immunizations, will be available to millions of Californians.
That’s not just good for saving and extending lives, it saves dollars and that helps prevent budgets from being overextended. Every dollar spent on immunizations, for example, saves our nation $16.50 in treatment costs.
Every 4th of July, we celebrate freedom, liberty and security. This holiday, we can also celebrate a brighter, healthier and even greater future.
God bless America and the Affordable Care Act.
Daniel Zingale is senior vice president of Healthy California at The California Endowment.
Filed under: Opinionation
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