Health Care Security is a Fundamental Freedom — Part II of III

It is indeed a rare ocassion in Washington when the three branches of our Federal Government can put aside major ideological differences to act in unison for the greater good of the nation. This historic display of leadership has occurred with the enactment of landmark legislation — the Affordable Care Act — providing access to health care for all Americans. The conservative-led Supreme Court recently upheld this landmark law as Constitutional.

Universal access to health care has been commonplace in most modern industrial democracies worldwide, with the embarrassing exception of ours — until now.

America could not continue to be recognized as the greatest global democracy and beacon of freedom had we continued to fail in providing basic health security for all of our citizens (the majority of whom are patriotic taxpayers). We have already experienced too many decades of partisan gridlock at the expense of the neediest among us who lack access to basic health care.

No American should ever be denied basic medical care due to lack of income, pre-existing conditions, or other discriminatory factors. We are better than that as a nation and as a people. No American should ever be faced with the grim choice of paying for medical care versus putting food on the table.

How could we uphold our nation’s long cherished values by leaving Americans who lack basic health care to wither away on the vines of desperation?

U.S. Health System 37th Worldwide

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have stated that America’s “health system ranks 37th in the world — just behind Costa Rica”.

While Costa Rica may be a nice place to visit, would you and your family want to move there for health care security? If not, what about the other 35 countries which have health care systems that rank higher than ours? What if that were the only way to access and afford a life-saving surgery? Perhaps Canada or Europe would be more to your liking? Fortunately, that’s a choice no American will have to consider making any longer.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act ensures hard-working, middle class families will get the security they deserve,” says the White House, “and [it] protects every American from the worst insurance company abuses.”

See Part III, Corporate America Gone Wild!” —

Get the facts about the Affordable Care Act:

Predictions of Doom and Gloom?

It is not uncommon in American history for landmark laws, like the Affordable Care Act, to be met with fierce resistance at first. Medicare and the Civil Rights Act are two good examples of similar transformational legislation which went through tough transitions from public scrutiny to public acceptance. The transitions took place from the time these laws were introduced in Congress, through enactment and national implementation. Medicare was a legislative milestone created by Congress in 1965 via the Social Security Act. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 opened the doors of equal opportunity to nearly all Americans. Opponents of these historic laws predicted doom and gloom for America. However, interestingly enough, just the opposite occurred.

As these landmark laws were implemented, their success became more apparent over time. In fact, most Americans came to recognize and accept the intrinsic democratic values and fundamental freedoms these laws provided. This, in turn, helped to make America a better country and a global role model for freedom and human rights. Moreover, with the passage of time and the advantage of hindsight, these groundbreaking laws were improved upon by the enactment of critically important amendments. It is likely that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act will follow a similar legislative path over time. But at least we now have a strong foundation in place to build upon. Plus, the struggling middle class will receive an immediate B-12 shot.

So what does this all say about the current health care debate? In essence, we should not rush to premature judgments about the Affordable Care Act. We should not fall prey to its detractors. We should not believe the hype of today’s hyper-critical political naysayers. The long-awaited approval of a sweeping comprehensive health care reform law has finally arrived for all Americans. The sky will not fall because of the Affordable Care Act.

To the contrary, America will be better off because of it.

Also See Part I:


***All views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only.

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David B. Grinberg

If you’re against the Affordable Care Act, and health care security for all Americans, then what do you propose in its place? The status quo is not a feasible answer. It’s easy to criticize, but a lot more difficult to find common ground solutions.

David B. Grinberg

Excellent op-ed in the Washington Post by Matt Miller, a former colleague of mine at OMB in 1993-1994 (yes, I was pretty young back then, fresh out of college):

Miller writes: “In America — alone among wealthy nations — everyone is a pink slip or job change or new illness away from finding they have lost coverage or are uninsurable…In every other advanced nation, the idea that government has a central role in assuring basic health security was settled decades ago — a consensus that conservatives abroad embrace.”

David B. Grinberg

A must-read op-ed in the Washington Post by Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS):

She writes:

In the decade before the [Affordable Care Act] law was passed, national health expenditures increased about 7 percent a year. But in the past two years, those increases have dropped to less than 4 percent per year, saving Americans more than $220 billion. And that trend is expected to continue, with health-care costs projected to stay level as a share of gross domestic product from 2009 all the way through 2013…”

“People are entitled to their opinions, but not to their own facts. And the facts in this case are clear: Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, national health spending is rising at a slower rate, health insurance premiums are rising at a slower rate, small-business coverage is holding steady and Medicare is on a stronger financial footing…”

“Now that the Supreme Court has issued a decision, the American people would be better served if Congress joined the president in working to build on that progress, not undo it.”