Affordable Care Act is key to our health |

Affordable Care Act is key to our health

Dear Editor:

All across the country, Americans are reaping dramatic benefits from health reform. Preventive care is free; insurance companies can no longer discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions; young adults can remain on their parents’ health policies until the age of 26; and rescissions are prohibited, among other things.

Thanks to the new health care bill, which is now called the Affordable Care Act, the new law is putting an end to the worst practices of the insurance industry. It is closing the book on discrimination against patients with pre-existing conditions; on the long-standing practice of rescission; on sudden, unjustified rate hikes; and on lifetime caps on patient care.

That’s no accident. Those benefits are the end result of an intensive effort by President Obama and Democrats in Congress to enact health care reform. Unfortunately, those benefits and the Affordable Care Act that guarantees them are under attack.

Just days after the new Congress convened, House Republicans will vote on a bill to repeal health insurance reform – without debate, without hearings, and without discussion.

With the repeal of this vital law, Republicans would take us back to the days when insurance companies came first, and Americans second.

Health care reform is about names, faces, struggles and stories even here in Pitkin County, where numerous families are now relieved to be able to keep their college-age kids on their insurance until they find a job, or the cancer patient that didn’t get dropped when they learned they had cancer. Health care reform is about fiscal responsibility, and about putting Americans in control.

Many economic indicators seem to suggest our economic recovery is gaining traction. We still have a long way to go. As President Obama has said, our most important task now is to keep that recovery going. We need to keep our economy growing, create jobs and strengthen our middle class.

As they take their new seats in Congress, Republicans have an opportunity to join President Obama and continue the work of creating jobs. But by opting to instead prioritize the repeal of the Affordable Care Act – stripping Americans of their health care benefits and patients’ rights – Republicans are turning their backs on the majority of Americans’ priorities.

This is no time to focus on partisan political priorities against the will of the American people. Let’s put the games aside. It’s time to work together.

Blanca O’Leary


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