With all the rhetoric being thrown around about health care, the importance of the reforms we’ve made and the need to protect those reforms and move forward can be easily forgotten. With the release of the Democratic platform last night, it seems they too understand this and want to make sure our health care rights are not only protected, but also improved upon.
Although the main focus of the platform is about growing and strengthening the middle class, improving health care is one of the main ways the Democrats plan to achieve this. They “believe accessible, affordable, high quality health care is part of the American promise, that Americans should have the security that comes with good health care, and that no one should go broke because they get sick.”
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, much has been done to improve the lives of Americans, especially those struggling with our broken health care system. In the past few years:
- Young Americans entering the workforce can stay on their parents’ plans.
- Insurers can no longer refuse to cover kids with pre-existing medical conditions.
- Insurance companies will no longer be able to arbitrarily cap and cancel coverage, or charge women more simply because of their gender.
- People with private insurance are getting preventive services like cancer screenings, annual well-woman visits, and contraception with no out-of-pocket costs.
- Small businesses are receiving tax credits to help them cover their workers.
- And businesses and families are receiving rebates from insurers who overcharged them.
But they also realize there is still work to be done. The Affordable Care Act is a good starting point, but health care needs to be made more accessible and affordable for all Americans. To that end, the Democratic platform promises to:
- Continue to fight for a strong health care workforce with an emphasis on primary care.
- Work on eliminating disparities in health and continue to make sure families have access to mental health and substance abuse services.
- Strengthen Medicaid and oppose any efforts to block grant the program, slash its funding, and leave millions more without health insurance.
Contrast this vision with the Republican platform, which calls for privatizing Medicare, block granting Medicaid and repealing the Affordable Care Act. All of these ideas have been met with strong public disapproval, and not even a Supreme Court ruling confirming the constitutionality of the health care law is enough to stop Republicans’ repeal efforts. Their vision will not only increase the deficit, but will lead to millions of Americans losing access to care and seniors having to pay thousands of dollars more to get the care they need.
Now that both the Republicans and Democrats have released their platforms, it is clear the two parties have very different ideas for America’s future. But to me, this isn’t a question of which political party you support, it’s a question of which version of America you support—Is it an America where health care is a right, or an America where health care is a privilege? Seems like a simple choice to me.