What really happens to real people really matters

What really happens to real people really matters June 28, 2012

In his article on the cruel idea of “Health Care as a Privilege,” Jonathan Chait mentioned a spate of pre-court-decision stories:

… showing in human terms what sort of conditions we would be perpetuating in the event that five Republican Supreme Court Justices, or a potential Republican-run government next year, partially or completely nullify the Affordable Care Act. A man will watch the tumor in his leg grow to the size of a melon, and his wife will sew special pants to fit the growing bulge, because he has no insurance. A woman will hobble around for four years on an untreated broken ankle she can’t have repaired. People will line up in their cars and spend the night in a parking lot queuing for a rare free health clinic.

Chait isn’t listing a bunch of hypothetical situations. His links there go to the actual stories of these actual people.

The real man with the tumor in his leg is Eric Richter, of Ohio. The real woman with the broken ankle is Wendy Parris, of Oregon. The real people camping out in that parking lot included Robin Layman, of Tennessee.

Today’s Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act was not primarily a political victory for President Barack Obama, or for the Democratic Party, or for the liberal tribe in general. It was, primarily, a victory for Eric Richter, Wendy Parris and Robin Layman and for millions of others like them.

It was a victory for Daniel Menges.

It was a victory for 21-month-old Violet McManus and her parents.

It was a victory for 2-year-old Declan McNulty and his parents.

It was a victory for Shavon Walker.

It was a victory for Ben Trockman and for Caroline Long.

It was a victory for Carolyn Cunningham.

And it was a victory for Jennifer Lee.

These are all real people who will really be helped by what the ACA really does. And there are millions more like them — millions of real people who really need the help this law really provides.

That matters. I’m sure it also has some political ramifications, but those are secondary or tertiary concerns here.

Today is a good day and an important day because Eric, Wendy, Robin, Daniel, Violent, Declan, Shavon, Ben, Caroline, Carolyn and Jennifer are important. They matter.

“We cannot forget the human element,” Dianna Anderson writes. “Women around the United States benefit from this plan.”

And she notes that she is one of them:

Because of “Obamacare,” in 2014, the gender disparity between women and men in health insurance plans will be illegal. My coverage, which is the same as my male coworkers, will cost us the same.

Because of the ACA, should I lose my job, I won’t be denied health care coverage because of a couple of pre-existing conditions.

Because of the ACA, my friend’s newborn who has a heart defect will not hit a “lifetime limit” on her health insurance before she’s even a year old.

Because of the ACA, my birth control costs me much less money than it would have, easing my financial burdens.

Because of the ACA, my recently developed PMDD has zero effect on my health insurance plan – I cannot be dropped for getting sick.

Because of the ACA, my preventative exams will always be covered without a copay.

Because of the ACA, my disabled brother will always have health insurance, even after my parents’ passing.

That is what happened two years ago, and that is what was preserved today. And that matters.

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