The Affordable Care Act Can Help Millions
Your Take: This expert says that blacks and Latinos will benefit if the health care bill is upheld.
The Affordable Care Act covers 6.6 million young adults. More than 20 million women received preventative services, such as mammograms, birth control, new-baby care and well-child visits, without a co-pay. A 50 percent discount is available on covered name-brand prescriptions for seniors and people with disabilities who hit "the doughnut hole," and in 2011 more than 5.1 million Medicare beneficiaries saved $3 billion on prescription drugs under the health care law.
In addition, the Affordable Care Act expands initiatives to increase racial and ethnic diversity in health care professions (pdf) and strengthens cultural competency training for all health care providers. And it ends the worst insurance company abuses, such as denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Access to preventive care could also mean the difference between life and death for 47 million Latinos and 41 million African Americans, who are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases such as diabetes, certain cancers and heart disease, and are more likely than other Americans to die from preventable diseases. With record high unemployment, pathways to care through employer-based insurance could be eliminated.
The reality is this: The Affordable Care Act is already working. Yet a recent CBS News-New York Times poll shows that 67 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Tea Party supporters want the entire law to be overturned.
We fully expect that the Affordable Care Act will be upheld by the Supreme Court, not only because it's constitutional but also because to do otherwise would impose a massive judicial intervention that would disrupt the lives of millions of individuals and businesses that are already benefiting from the law.
But what would happen to McClenty and Ybarra if the court sided with insurance companies and corporate interests?
There's no evidence that right-wing Republicans in Congress would retain these benefits or help Americans keep any of these benefits. The Republican House budget consistently aims to cut Medicaid for seniors, children and people with disabilities. Instead of introducing proposals that help close gaps between the richest 1 percent and the rest of us, the GOP still tries to shift economic burdens onto working families.
After her son's health care coverage was restored, McClenty said, "I felt like I'd had a small victory ... I was so grateful for the new health care law."
Now imagine if there were no Affordable Care Act to help women like McClenty and Ybarra.
Gerry Hudson is the international executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
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