It’s like the 1960s all over again.
As the United States Supreme Court upheld parts of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), it harkened back to June of 1965, when the country — and our bipartisan elected officials — were divided over Medicare.
With a Cold War mentality, many feared that Medicare meant socialism — and the end of freedom as they knew it.
Today, millions of seniors depend on the coverage afforded them by Medicare, and claims the system is going bankrupt have spurred fears — and talks on how to keep Medicare solvent for an aging population.
We feel the Supreme Court’s ruling that ACA is constitutional transcends partisan politics and concerns itself with the people.
And that’s the bottom line.
All people should have access to health insurance, regardless of income, age, race — or existing conditions.
The ACA does just that.
By creating a “health care exchange,” individuals and small business owners will be able to select from a range of affordable heath care options.
Through these exchanges individuals with pre-existing conditions will not be charged higher rates and they won’t lose coverage if they get sick.
All businesses, except those with fewer than 50 employees, will be required to provide insurance to their workers.
But small businesses under the cut line — 340,000 which are eligible in New York — that do offer insurance can quality for a 35 percent tax credit, which will increase to 50 percent in 2014 if they enroll through the exchanges.
Going forward, companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on care or charge higher rates for children with pre-existing conditions.
And young adults that already receive coverage through their parents can remain on those plans until the age of 26.
Starting in August, insurance companies will also be required to cover women’s preventive services, including contraception.
What this all means, we feel, is that power has been given back to the people.
No longer will families fret over mounting medical bills.
No longer will parents of children born with conditions be forced to file bankruptcy — just to ensure their child gets the medical attention he or she needs.
And no longer will American people have to choose between a medical procedure or food on the table.
What this is is not socialism — it is the beginning of a healthier, fairer America.