When my two year old son Gabriel was diagnosed with asthma, I found myself considering what so many American parents are often forced to face: the possibility that I would not be able to provide comprehensive healthcare for my child. As a woman, a business owner, a mom and an advocate for single-payer healthcare, I support the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although the ACA, does not establish a universal healthcare system, it is one step closer to achieving healthcare for all. The reality is insurance companies are in the business to make money, not insure health.
Prior to the Affordable Care Act being signed into law by President Obama, asthma and many other common childhood ailments were considered "pre-existing conditions." As many as 17 million children under the age of 18 have some type of pre-existing condition, and insurers were previously allowed to use that as grounds for denying them coverage.
The Affordable Care Act ended that insurance abuse. As of today, insurance companies are prohibited from denying children insurance based on their pre-existing conditions, and by the year 2014, no one of any age will be able to be denied care for that reason. Additionally, the ACA provides free preventative services for children like comprehensive screenings and well-child visits.
As the mother of a child with an illness, it's comforting to know that the ACA has also ended lifetime limits on the dollar value of coverage for children and beginning in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to impose annual limits on coverage.
It's not surprising, but still disheartening, to consider the reality that over one-half of women in America delay seeking life-saving care because of costs and another one-third of women give up basic necessities to receive urgent care. How can any woman be expected to adequately care for herself while suffering with illness, which is left untreated?
The ACA seeks to right these wrongs by stopping insurance companies from discriminating against women by charging us premiums 150 percent higher than men of our same age and health status. The law also places a cap on what insurance companies can force us to spend in co-pays in deductibles. And beginning in 2014, women who can't afford comprehensive insurance will be provided with tax credits. The ACA eliminates lifetime limits on coverage and it forbids insurance companies from dropping us when we get sick.
Republicans in Congress are adamant that they are not waging a war on women, yet those same Republicans seek to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The fact is that the ACA protects women and prevents insurance companies from cruelly denying children a happy and healthy childhood. By ensuring that women are healthy enough to sufficiently care for their children, the ACA is ensuring a bright future for the next generation.
By supporting the Affordable Care Act, you are supporting women and families throughout America.
Jersey City Heights