Why We Can't Turn Our Backs on Health Care Reform
Two weeks ago, the House of Representatives voted to go backwards by supporting repeal of the health reform bill that President Obama signed into law nearly a year ago. The new health reform law bars insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, or dropping people from coverage if they get sick. I worked to include a breastfeeding provision in the bill that provides new moms with a private space and flexible unpaid break times at work to pump healthy breast milk for their babies.
It’s important for members of Congress to know how the bill is benefitting millions of working families across America. Over the past several months, MomsRising members have shared their stories about how the new health reform law has changed their lives for the better. Ruthann from Cottage Grove, Oregon, shares her story about how health reform may have saved her life:
“I am 64 years old, one year until eligible for Medicare. I have never had a colonoscopy because I could not afford it. My health insurance policy has a $5,000 deductible / out of pocket before any decent coverage; preventative procedures are prohibitive. The Obama plan encouraged my insurance company to begin covering routine preventative care including a colonoscopy, so I scheduled one as soon as I heard. There were two premalignant polyps that were removed. Colon cancer was prevented at great savings to the system and extension of life for me.”
Deborah from Eugene, Oregon, explains how the health reform law has helped her daughter receive the necessary medical care she needs:
“Health care reform is already helping us by allowing us to keep our young adult daughter on our family health insurance. She is 23 and a college graduate who is employed but does not have health insurance with her employer. What would she do without the new health care reform? She would have no coverage at all. She suffers from a chronic health condition that requires monthly medications – these are prohibitively expensive without health insurance.”
Providing people like Ruthann with preventive health care screenings and giving Deborah’s daughter access to the medicine she needs not only saves our country money over the long run, it saves lives. Is the health care bill perfect? No. Is it a strong step in the right direction? Absolutely. Those in Congress who are dead set on undoing the reforms we put in place would be remiss not to recognize the positive impact the law is having on countless Americans like Ruthann and Deborah.
We can’t turn our backs on working families and go back to the days where insurance companies decide who gets access to health care and who doesn’t. We need to continue to move forward and ensure that health care in America remains an essential right for families, not a privilege.