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The Opposite of Freedom

By Dr Pramita Kuruvilla
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I confess: I’ve been really excited about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

Here’s why: It means good things for the health of every human being in our country.  Hard-working Americans have gone through tough times in recent years.  Betrayed by banks, companies, politicians, and even long-held dreams, it’s hard to look at any institution without a hefty dose of skepticism, but, we must regard healthcare in a different light.  The foundation of healthcare rests on a societal contract, not a financial one (despite the fact that most healthcare news appears in the business section of U.S. newspapers). 

My worst fear (and an all-too-horrible reality for many): if my health were to fail me, healthcare should not further betray me.  I want to save my strength to fight battles against infection and cancer, not insurance companies.  Our society currently penalizes people for getting sick with lost wages, lost jobs, lost coverage, lost savings.  Patients and friends who are struggling to survive devastating illness are forced to worry about the bills they are incurring that they may not be alive to pay.  One particularly horrible story involved a patient who refused life-saving treatments for weeks due to fear of being a financial burden on his family after his death.  This is the opposite of freedom.  A forced “tax” for healthcare (as stipulated by the Court’s upholding of the individual mandate) which results in most of us having access to care creates more freedom, not less.

Dear America, our healthcare system has been failing us for a long time.  Until now.  Until the changes wrought by the ACA are put into place.  Until the emphasis shifts from the business of “healthcare” to the promotion of “health”.

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