My niece is married to a Norwegian and lives in Oslo. When they had their first baby, she got six weeks off, her husband got six weeks off and a nurse came to check on her and the baby every day for two weeks. All Norwegians are insured by the National Insurance Scheme, a universal, tax-funded, single-payer health system.
Today’s Supreme Court decision upholding most of the Affordable Care Act is a historic and welcome first step for the health of our nation. Thank God for Chief Justice John Roberts, who often sides with the right, but this time he was indeed right when he made the deciding vote to uphold President’s Barack Obama’s healthcare program.
But make no mistake, it is only a step and a step that the Republicans in Congress and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have vowed to undo.
The U.S. spends twice as much as other developed countries on health care, gets lower quality, less efficiency, has the least equitable system when compared to other Western nations, yet still manages to leave 50.7 million of its citizens uninsured.
The Affordable Care Act will begin to right that situation. You say you don’t care. You have health care and everyone should pay his own way.
I love that Americans love to revel in the myth of independence and self-sufficiency. Forget that road out there, the electrical grid that allows your to run your air-conditioner, the fire department down the road that will speed to the house if it catches fire, the clean water that flows through the taps and the amazing structure that allows us to flush away wastes.
But health care is not like that. Anyone who has ever sent their child to school knows that inevitably he or she will come home with the sniffles and fever of some other child. We live in a society. We breathe the same air, stand in the same bus or ride in the same subway car with lots of other humans. Frankly, I’d prefer that they all have health care so that they can be treated for common bacterial infections like pneumonia or flu so it isn’t so easily spread and doesn’t become untreatable.
Today’s high court decision lets us breathe just a bit easier.
Your kid is in graduate school who is not working? You can have him or her on your insurance until he is 26 because of ACA.
Your 6-year-old who was diagnosed with asthma. Your insurance can’t refuse to cover him or her because of ACA.
If you had breast cancer or are pregnant, you can’t be refused coverage.
If your mother is on Medicare, you need a cholesterol screening, a mammogram, or vaccinations, ACA’s got you covered.
At least for the moment.
Karen DeWitt has a long distinguished career as a journalist, covering politics, but also has worked on political campaigns. She compares the later to the labor of a Hebrew working for the Pharaoh. She’s covered the White House and the national politics for The New York Times; foreign affairs and the White House for USA TODAY before joining that newspaper’s management as an assistant managing editor. She switched to television as a senior producer for ABC’s Nightline, where she wrote and produced the award-winning, Found Voices about the digitization of 1930s and 1940s interviews with former slaves. She returned to newspapers, as Washington editor for the Examiner newspaper and eventually left to help on local political campaigns. She has several blogs, but contributes mostly to a food blog called “I don’t speak cuisine” at peacecorpsworldwide.org and theroot.com.