Affordable Care Act affirmation celebrated in Tampa
Some supporters of the Supreme Courtâs ruling to uphold the healthcare law held signs in front of the Federal Courthouse in Tampa today. The group of 25 people thinks the new law will make Americans healthier.
One of the most celebrated components of the healthcare law is the pre-existing condition provision. It keeps insurance companies from denying coverage to someone who has an ongoing illness. Ariel Fernandez is a Cuban immigrant and he has epilepsy. He said heâs had insurance since 2010, but it wasnât easy to get it.
âMy entire family was stumped because we had the money. We could purchase insurance no matter what the cost because it was going to be less than my medication, but everybody said no â because I was too much of a risk.â
Fernandezâs struggle led him to get informed and involved with the fight for healthcare reform.
âIt was a saving grace for, not just me, but everybody thatâs around me that I kind of hold down when Iâm sick and I canât be productive and they have to pay my bills and come in and to the rescue. That doesnât have to happen anymore.â
Ellen Brown, a local small business owner, is looking forward to taking advantage of tax credits to provide medical coverage for her two employees. And as a senior citizen, sheâs also seen first hand how the cost of prescription medication has left people choosing between paying bills and buying medicine. Brown said she was shocked and thrilled when she heard the news that the healthcare law had been ruled constitutional.
âSome of these medications â fortunately, not what I take, but what my brother-in-law does take â is $1,000 a shot. Thatâs big money. And when you get to the doughnut holeâ¦you can get your medicine.â
The decision is also being celebrated by some doctors. Mona Mangat treats people with allergies. Sheâs organizing a caravan from the Republican National Convention in Tampa to the Democratic convention in Charlotte. It will include a group of doctors and other supporters of the Affordable Care Act and show people that making healthcare more accessible isnât about partisanship.
âOur ultimate desire is to treat patients and to make this country a healthier country. So, this law is allowing us to do that â getting us one step closer. Itâs not the panacea of all our problems, but it gets us a step closer.â
Governor Rick Scott held off on implementing early provisions of the law and itâs unclear whether he will expand Medicaid. Thatâs one provision thatâs optional. Mangat said not taking federal dollars to expand a crucial program would be detrimental to people with low incomes.
âPeople will actually die. Itâs different. The other reporter brought up â well, he turned away the high speed rail money. Well, thatâs different. Nobody died because of that. People will die without expansion of Medicaid in this state.â
Not everyone at the rally was a fan of the Presidentâs healthcare law. Donald Waiberman works at the courthouse. He stood next to the circle of supporters asking what they thought the law would do for the quality of care. Waibermanâs concern was that with more people insured doctors would be inundated with patients.
âYouâre still going to go to the doctor. Youâre still going to want to get those check-ups like I do and youâre going to have to wait a lot longer because thereâs going to be a lot more people in those waiting rooms.â
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has criticized the federal healthcare law and said after the ruling that he would repeal it on his first day in office if heâs elected.
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