“In difficult situations, when hope seems feeble, the boldest plans are safest” said the Roman historian, Titus Livy. On November 7, 2009, 220 members of the U.S. Congress took one of the boldest steps of their political careers and changed the course of history. They voted to pass HR Bill 3200, America’s Affordable Healthcare Act of 2009. I never imagined that doing the right thing could be so difficult.
Memories of tea parties, name-calling-hysteria, gross distortions of truth, gun-toting “patriots” and lobbyist payoffs still haunt me. The ugliness of fear still saddens me however the courage of the “Bold-220” inspires me. I am proud to be an American.
The bravest of all, was perhaps, Louisiana Representative Joseph Cao, a Vietnamese American who represents the New Orleans community. Cao broke ranks with his party to do what “was best for his constituents.” It’s refreshing to see a man of integrity within the midst of political hooligans. Perhaps there’s hope after all.
So, how will this new bill help pregnant women?
- Pregnancy will no longer be considered a pre-existing condition that allowed insurance companies to discriminate and refuse coverage to pregnant women
- You can keep your present healthcare provider and insurance company
- It helps low and middle-income individuals and families purchase insurance through “affordability credits”
- It provides a public health insurance option that breaks up insurance monopolies
- It provides preventive services with no share of cost for mental health services, oral health and vision for children and limits the amount of money you have to spend per year
- It expands Medicaid services to families at or below 133 percent of the poverty level
And most important, it allows me to return to the healing art of medicine. The BUSINESS of medicine will hopefully be dead. And I will not shed one solitary tear.