It is clear that the nation's current health care system is unsustainable. Now that the Supreme Court has settled the two-year argument whether the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, let us remember the law’s benefits for individual Americans and the health care system.
As a physician, I know that the law’s benefits are many and wide-reaching, even though it is not perfect.
Since its passage, a majority of Americans have supported most of the ACA’s reforms. These include reforming insurance company practices — they will no longer be able to withhold insurance from children (and, in 2014, adults) who have pre-existing conditions — and the companies will be required to spend 80-85 percent of premiums paid on providing benefits to their members. The law expands protections to our very youngest and oldest citizens, and enhances women’s health care access.
Those necessary, and previously ignored, protections are now guaranteed to all Americans.
At the same time, the ACA brings about reforms to enhance the health care system. The law ensures that all Americans can access preventive care services without requiring a co-payment, allowing illnesses to be addressed early in their course. The law also helps to enhance the primary care workforce — the backbone of every strong health care system.
The momentous ruling is something for all Americans to celebrate. Friends, families (and my patients) will have security knowing that we all will have access to health care. The ruling points the way forward to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Bethany Picker, MD, Lewiston