Today the Supreme Court of the United States upheld The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The most significant improvement in healthcare and economic justice to come out of Washington in generations has been affirmed. The decision is cause for celebration. It also calls upon us to redouble our efforts for affordable, accessible healthcare for all Americans, including a Public Option.
Let us be clear. This is not the law we would have written. It is far too dependent on a broken, privatized healthcare system. Far superior would be a Medicare-for-All plan, also known as Single Payer. Failing that, the law should have included a public option. That would have enabled near universal coverage, without relying on failed private insurers.
But the Affordable Care Act remains the most important development in healthcare policy in over 40 years. It promises to extend health insurance to over 30 million Americans. It will save millions of lives and billions of taxpayer dollars. That is not a project we can give up on. It is our opportunity as citizens and voters to make that happen in this year’s presidential and congressional elections.
We believe that health care is a human right. Denial of healthcare for economic reasons can be as cruel as any regime’s torture chambers. Many countries poorer than ours do not deny any of their citizens adequate care. And they do so at a fraction of the cost we pay. That can, and must be our goal.
The Supreme Court’s ruling today upheld the “individual mandate” as constitutional. We agree. But we cannot stop there. There would be no debate as to the constitutionality of a Single Payer system or even a mandate with a Public Option. Indeed, Medicare and Social Security are both mandatory state-run insurance plans. They are also the most successful anti-poverty programs in American history. Universal access to healthcare cannot and will not be achieved by the private sector alone. Healthcare Vote 2013 is committed to continuing the fight to improve the Affordable Care Act by including a Public Option – and eventually moving to a Medicare for All system.
Today, and for the next four months, our priority must be to ensure we have a President, a Congress and Supreme Court committed to healthcare for all. That means working to reelect President Barack Obama and regain Democratic control of Congress this fall.
But we cannot stop there. Neighborhoods throughout New York City and around the country have been devastated by the epidemic of hospital closures like the one at St. Vincent’s on the Lower West Side of Manhattan. Healthcare Vote 2013 is committed to focusing the debate both nationally and locally on this issue. In elections for Congress this year, and locally for Mayor, City Council and more in 2013, people who ask for our vote must commit to extending adequate access to healthcare to all.
We start this afternoon. Please join us at 5:30 PM for a Rally for Healthcare for All at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. The event is cosponsored by Healthcare Vote 2013, Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign, Make The Road New York, Citizen Action of New York, New York Immigration Coalition and many other organizations. It will be an important step in the fight. Details are below. Please join us.
Yours in Solidarity,
The Steering Committee of Healthcare Vote 2013:
Yetta G. Kurland, Esq., Hon. Paul Newell, Eileen Dunn, RN,
David L. Kaufman, MD and Thomas Shanahan, Esq.
Healthcare for All Rally!
TODAY, Thursday, June 28th
5:30 PM. Foley Square, Lower Manhattan
Across from the Federal Courthouse
at the African American Burial Ground Monument
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/388335861224838/