Living on a Prayer

As we wait for the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’m reminded of how any improvement in a broken system gives immeasurable relief to those most affected by the fractures. Millions of people have gained access to health insurance due to this historical piece of legislation, yet a group of only nine judges sits on a mighty bench, deciding whether or not to take it away.

This week, millions of people will find out if their access to potentially life-saving health care will be stripped from them, so soon after they’d attained it. A hope and a prayer may be all that’s left for legislation that promises more fairness in an often unfair system.

Since the law’s enactment, 3.1 million younger people have been able to go on their parent’s health care plans if they are under 26 (www.whitehouse.gov). Coming out of school during a heinous economic recession, many young adults simply can’t afford private insurance, and can’t yet find full time employers who’ll provide it. Falling back on their parent’s plans could be life-saving, if some of them get sick or injured. Insurance = access…. we all know this.

The Affordable Health Care Act is like a miracle to these millions. This isn’t a small achievement…. it is not insignificant. Yet if the law is repealed, the likeliness of insurance corporations continuing this practice is small. If insurers were willing to offer help to youths, why did it take this law to create the practice?

A piece of the legislation particularly meaningful to my family is the bit that disallows the practice of insurers denying coverage for children with preexisting conditions. As a mother with two children with preexisting conditions, one with a bleeding disorder, and the other with scoliosis and asthma, I have wrung my hands over what would happen if I needed to change their insurance. Now I don’t have to worry…insurers don’t have the option of turning my kids away. This could change as early as tomorrow depending on the Supreme Court’s decision.

There are innumerable points of interest in the Affordable Health Care Act: the patients’ bill of rights, insurance plans for adults with previous health conditions, massive savings which will drive down the national deficit over the next twenty years, immediate savings for families and businesses…the list goes on and on. All of these help to heal the system of its brokenness. To re-break the healing bones in health care after this law set them is painful to watch. What our nation needs is more legislation to mend the system, not less.

The Supreme Court is the most aloof of the three branches of government. What it’ll do next, who the hell knows? All we can do is pray, I guess. Maybe by Friday we’ll know the progress made has been respected, and more good changes can be pushed forward. I can’t stand to think of the alternative.