Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson writes that the most important thing about the Supreme Court's Affordable Care Act decision is what it means for the long-term physical and moral health of the nation.
Obama's great achievement is not any one element of the health-care reform law — not even the now-upheld "individual mandate," which compels individuals to have health insurance or pay a fine. The important thing is the law’s underlying assumption that every American, rich or poor, should have access to adequate health care.
In the rest of the industrialized world, this simple idea is taken for granted. When Obama took office, however, about 50 million Americans lacked health insurance. Many low-income families, especially the "working poor" who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, were faced with impossible decisions: Take a sick child to the doctor or pay the rent? Buy medicine or buy groceries?
Those who cannot afford health insurance do ultimately receive care, of course — but often in hospital emergency rooms, where treatment is much more expensive than in a doctor’s office. Our system is thus both callous and extravagant, costing much more than it should while delivering substandard results.
Read Eugene Robinson's entire piece at the Washington Post.
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