Monday, March 10, 2014
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The Affordable Care Act will allow Americans who are uninsured or who buy individual policies – about 15 percent of the population – to participate in the new health insurance exchanges.
Starting Tuesday, uninsured Americans will be able to buy health insurance on the state exchanges, in many cases receiving federal subsidies making high-quality insurance coverage affordable to them for the first time. Opponents of the law have done everything they could to stop this day from coming, including taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court and losing.
MAINE AMONG THE HOLDOUTS
Maine is one of 22 states that have refused federally funded Medicaid for people with incomes just over the poverty line, because of our governor's obsessive hatred of government programs that help people in need.
Now Obamacare opponents in Congress threaten to shut down the government if they can't defund the law, but even then they will not be able to stop it: If the government shuts down, the president decides which programs are essential. As long as the president is named Obama, Obamacare will be on the list.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will go down in history for saying that Congress would have to pass the Affordable Care Act before members could know what was in it. The quote may be famous, but that's not what she said.
Speaking in 2010 to an association of people who work in county governments, Pelosi complained about how unfounded criticism of the bill had eclipsed real discussion of its merits.
"I know you've heard about the controversies within the bill," she said. "But I don't know if you've heard that it is legislation for the future. That it's not just about health care for America but about a healthier America. ... It's going to be very, very exciting. So we have to pass the bill so that you can see what's in it, away from the fog of the controversy."
Three years later, the fog of controversy still hovers, but it's about to lift. We are sure to find areas where the Affordable Care Act needs to be stronger, or where it creates unintended negative consequences -- no piece of legislation is perfect.
But we should also see that this is a law that will make health care affordable to millions and save lives. And as Sen. King explained so well, it's nothing to be afraid of.