By Teresa Welsh |
Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, it is time to turn the historic promise of the new law into a living reality.
At its heart, the Affordable Care Act is about keeping people healthy and giving Americans the peace of mind that healthcare will always be there when they need it. Irrespective of changes in any person's life circumstances—the desire to switch jobs or start a business, being laid off from work, changes in marital status, or the sudden loss of income—the Affordable Care Act ensures the availability of quality, affordable healthcare.
The law makes sure that insurance companies treat people fairly. Under the law, it will be illegal for insurers to discriminate against women by charging higher premiums simply because of their gender. Nobody—male or female—will be denied coverage or charged higher premiums because of a pre-existing condition, like asthma or diabetes. No one will live in fear of their insurance being canceled. People will no longer be subject to arbitrary lifetime or annual caps in what insurers pay out, thereby denying coverage when it is needed the most.
The act also comes with much-needed direct help for middle class families. They will receive substantial subsidies to make health insurance premiums affordable. Seniors will no longer fall into the huge prescription drug coverage gap in Medicare euphemistically-named the "doughnut hole." Comprehensive preventive care will be available at no cost for women, including mammograms and contraception.
A significant number of these benefits, and many others, already are being provided in whole or in part, such as the millions of young adults (under 26 years of age) who are staying on their parents' policies. As more and more people feel the direct protections and benefits of the new law, repealing the Affordable Care Act will increasingly be considered an absurdity.
Instead of playing politics with the act, it is time to fully implement it across the country. It's also time for Democrats and Republicans to come together to build on the act so that additional steps can be taken to moderate healthcare costs for America's families and businesses.
About Ron Pollack Founding Executive Director of Families USA
Maura Calsyn Associate Director of Health Policy at the Center for American Progress
Ethan Rome Executive Director of Health Care for America Now
Nina Owcharenko Director of the Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies
Mitt Romney Republican Candidate for President