The nation held its collective breath as the Affordable Care Act was at risk of deconstruction and repeal, by the U.S. Senate, late into the early morning hours last week. Not long after midnight EST last Friday, the news broke that, for the moment, the ACA (Obamacare) would stand as the law of the land due to the courageous votes of 3 Republican Senators. And the nation breathed a collective sigh of relief.
This nation has been debating the idea of public funding for healthcare in America since FDR proposed publicly funded healthcare programs as a part of his Social Security legislation in 1933. Many Presidents have attempted to implement public healthcare reforms for decades, without success. Until President Barack Obama was able to sign into law the Affordable Care Act in 2010, over 7 decades later. The debate over publicly funded healthcare is as contentious and partisan as any debate could possibly be. However, lost in all the heated rhetoric, posturing and political pontification is the fact that this debate is about PEOPLE, not Politics. People’s lives are at risk each and everyday due to lack of access to affordable healthcare. In a country that touts itself as the greatest nation on earth, it is unacceptable that we cannot find a way to provide our citizens, no matter their socioeconomic status, age, sexual identity, marital status or current medical condition the best healthcare in the world. All people in this nation should have an inalienable right to decent, affordable healthcare for themselves and their families. There is no other acceptable option.
We will not go back to days when only the affluent could access health care for themselves and their families. Or, the days when insurance companies could deny people health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. We do not want to go back to women choosing dangerous options for the health and well-being of their children and themselves due to lack of access or lack of money. People should not have to choose between food, medicine, or bills. There are countries all over the world doing better than us. Places like Romania, Serbia, Mexico, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa, Israel all have universal healthcare for their citizens as a guarantee; not to mention, those we would expect like Great Britain, Canada, France, Australia, and Germany. If the world can do it, so can we. We will NOT settle for anything less!