Last week the Supreme Court made a landmark decision that will leave an indelible mark on healthcare history. I was surprised by my own response on hearing the news. It was deeply emotional and almost cathartic. In searching out why, it dawned on me that I personally had much more invested in this decision than I imagined.
Investment one: I came to Washington to do advocacy work on behalf of children and families 12 years ago. Back then I did not have an appreciation of the length of time it can take for change to come here. Even, as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, many years ago when I wrote this opinion piece on the uninsured http://tinyurl.com/snapshot-of-the-uninsured , I still harbored a hope that change was coming very soon.
Investment two: I was proud of the President for standing his ground and doing what he believed. Not because it was politically safe or popular but because seeking to transform healthcare was the right thing to do.
Investment three: I realized the real winners in this decision were the children and families we serve in ACF. The benefits to implementing the Affordable Care Act are numerous and include: insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive, they can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions, they can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick, they can no longer jack up your premiums without reason and they are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups. And because of the Affordable Care Act, young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parent's health care plans -- a provision that's already helped 6 million young Americans. Even more progress is coming for the uninsured as the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented!
It took a while but a change has come.