Saturday, March 24, 2012

Good prescription

The USA’s Affordable Care Act is now two years old. The graphic accompanying this post from ThinkProgress shows some of the notable benefits that have come from this legislation, a cornerstone of President Obama’s first term.

The rightwing immediately dubbed the law “Obamacare” as a way to demonise it and to try and frame it as some sort of universal healthcare, which it emphatically is not. ThinkProgess noted that Republicans have voted 25 times to roll back the legislation or defund it. ALL the candidates for the Republcian presidential nomination have promised to repeal the law. ThinkProgress says of the Republican assault:
“Should they succeed, millions of Americans would become uninsured, seniors would pay more for prescription drug coverage, and the insurance industry would once again be able to deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions and impose annual and lifetime limits on coverage.”
This act is an important first step in healthcare reform and was, in my opinion, probably the best that could be obtained in the bitterly partisan US Congress—which is even more divided now. Still, it’s not nearly as good as what so many other countries—including New Zealand—have; the US isn’t likely to see anything like that for decades to come.

But let’s not lose sight of how important this legislation is to the people already befitting, and the people who will benefit as the rest of the law comes into force. This is one of many achievements of this administration that we simply cannot allow to be undone by those promoting only the interests of the rich and corporate elites—and insurance industry. America needs to move forward, not back. This law was an important step in that journey forward.

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