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Know Your Rights
Source: Daily News
Subject: Health Justice & Access
Type: Media Coverage

Obamacare supporters exult; conservative right sulks.

‘Supreme Court Supports Obamacare: American Freedom Strangled.’ That was the headline of an Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights press release after the Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act was announced.

The Washington-based conservative group’s borderline hysterical statement could have been issued by any number of rightist organizations which, although still reeling from the severe — and unexpected — blow dealt to them by the court’s decision, rushed to send out all kinds of statements condemning it and vowing to keep fighting to repeal it.

“What the court did not do on its last day in session (repeal the ACA), I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States,” a clearly frustrated Mitt Romney said in a Washington press conference.

But it was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) — a potential Romney choice for the vice presidency — who, in trying to defend his prospective boss, made a statement many people thought was a joke. It was reported by the Daily Kos on June 28.

Asked about Romney’s support for the individual healthcare mandate in Massachusetts while opposing it as a Presidential contender Rubio said: ‘But what a big difference. He supported it on the state level. Which means if you didn’t like it in Massachusetts, you could move to another state.’”

The Daily Kos reponse is priceless: “Well, sure. Honey, pack up the kids, quit your job and sell the house. We’re moving where they don’t have health insurance.”

To the 32 million uninsured Americans, Romney’s threat reveals once more how out of touch the GOP flag-bearer is with their daily reality.

For those 32 million uninsured, the Supreme Court decision, far from “strangling” their freedom, finally gives them a fundamental one that should have always been theirs: The freedom to get quality healthcare.

[In passing the Affordable Care Act the Supreme Court] have reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America — in the wealthiest nation on Earth — no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin,” Obama said.

No, it shouldn’t, especially when right now more than 60% of bankruptcies in the country are caused by runaway medical bills.

Think about it this way: Among other things, pre-existing conditions can no longer be used by insurance companies as an excuse to deny coverage; young people up to 26 years of age can be covered under their parents’ insurance, prescriptions will become more affordable for older Americans, and millions of uninsured people will have the chance to get the coverage they deserve.

Here in in our city, the court decision will make a huge difference for working New Yorkers, especially immigrants.

According to the New York Immigration Coalition under full ACT implementation, 6 million more Latinos nationwide would become insured, increasing their coverage by 18.2%. Asians and other groups would increase their insurance coverage by 10%.

Also, the NYIC said, millions of New Yorkers have already benefited from the ACA’s provisions, and Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order establishing a New York State Health Insurance Exchange last April.

“Noncitizen immigrant New Yorkers, who are three times more likely to be uninsured than citizens, will particularly benefit from the ACA’s implementation, which will offer them access to affordable insurance coverage,” said Chung-Wha Hong, the NYIC’s executive director.

“With Latinos and other immigrants among the most likely to be uninsured, today’s decision is monumental for the health of immigrants and all Americans,” said Theo Oshiro, deputy director of Make the Road New York.

No, it is not a perfect law, but ACA is a giant step towards recognizing something Romney, Rubio and others like them fail to understand: Affordable, quality health care is not a privilege but a fundamental human right.

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