The healthcare decision

Momentous is what it is, and a major surprise, given the justices’ vote in which the conservative chief justice joined the liberal minority and thus created the prevailing majority.

The president has coming a blow of his (lately quiet) horn.

Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has sought to pass a program assuring fair medical care for all Americans. President Obama proposed and pushed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in his first year in office using (some say wasting) his early momentum and political chips. Our public health system ranks 37th in the world, a tragic embarrassment. Congress passed the long, complicated law after long and chaotic negotiations and partisan deliberations. Thursday, a uniquely bipartisan majority of the United States Supreme Court upheld the act in an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, a conservative appointee of President George W. Bush. Millions (30, it is projected) of Americans’ lives are improved by this decision; and they should remember President Obama on Election Day for this reason if for no other.

ADVERTISEMENT
Here is an example of one such citizen’s change-of-life resulting from the new law.  “A child can remain on his/her parental policy until the age of 26, but at 63, two years shy of Medicare, I was at the mercy of my employer when transitioning from a group policy at the end of the COBRA protection period to an individual policy. I was turned down for pre-existing conditions consistent with my age. Due to HIPAA, I applied for and was accepted by another policy at twice the amount with less coverage than before.”

The multi-thousand-page Affordable Care Act is filled with complicated arcane language. There definitely are wrinkles to be ironed out. They will be, and if done in an intelligent, bipartisan (ha!), public-spirited way, the country will be the better off for this major social welfare legislation that brings fairness and equality to American citizens in need of it, like the lady noted here.

More in International

Israel's momentous election decision

Read more »