My preschooler plays with a kid who has cystic fibrosis. I think of him and his parents daily. There are many families like them, of course, dealt some hand that I, by dumb luck, missed. They raise children with real and pressing health problems, while they struggle with all the usual stuff, too: the frustrating fours and finding time to walk the dog, planning date nights and worrying over a new round of lay-offs at work. But the biggest of my worries are the least of theirs. For them, it’s not just a lost job when layoffs come around. It’s the idea of lost health care that must keep them up nights. Going without insurance would be a huge financial risk in my household. It’s flat-out unthinkable in theirs.
Two years ago, they and a whole lot of other families got some much-deserved peace of mind when their kid, pre-existing condition and all, became forever insurable. A law called the Affordable Care Act made that possible. You might know it by the critics’ term, Obamacare.
The health care reform law turns two Friday, and next week the Supreme Court will weigh its constitutionality. As I’ve mentioned before, few Americans grasp what’s in the Affordable Care Act. Research shows that when most of them learn more, support skyrockets.
Do you know someone like my daughter’s little friend, somebody whose life is better off because of this law? If so, I have a favor to ask. Would you please take just a minute this week and tell someone about it? You can share a “thanks Obamacare”message on Facebook, talk up how your last well-child visit was free, or tell the story over the water cooler of a family the law helped. (Heck, if you have a few more minutes, I’ll help you write a letter to the editor about it: just email me.) Your part in spreading the word could very well help save a life. Lots of lives, in fact.
Need more convincing first? Here are some conversation starters:
- For all its protesting, Texas has been one of the biggest winners under health reform. More than 7.5 million Texans have benefited in one way or another under the law. For example, hundreds of thousands of us will get money back this summer from private insurers who spent too much last year on profits, not actual care.
- About 6 million Texans, including 1.1 million children, got preventive care like immunizations and well-child visits without an out-of-pocket co-pay for the first time.
- Millions of children nationwide like my daughter’s friend are benefiting from the law’s ban on denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Beginning in 2014, this ban will extend to adults, but the law has already helped over 5,000 formerly uninsured Texas adults with pre-existing conditions who had no options on the private market before get covered (this woman, for instance).
- Over 300,000 young adult Texans gained health coverage. Young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26.
Final disclaimer: I’m not trying to get anyone in trouble here. There’s no need to stir the pot with someone you know gets politically riled up at the mere mention of this law. Are there folks who might listen, though, if you put a human face to this issue? What story would you tell?
Texan Michelle Cunningham was able to get her 8-year-old son, a leukemia survivor, health care thanks to the Affordable Care Act
Written by: Christine Sinatra