Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
Defending the healthcare law
Re "Obama's health reform law still a hard sell," March 21
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not a tough sell in our house. My daughter survived a bout with Hodgkin's lymphoma at age 19 (she's now 24), and if it weren't for the healthcare law, she would not be insured. We lived in fear that her cancer could recur, threatening her life and bankrupting our household. Now, thanks to the law, she can be covered by the insurance offered by my husband's employer.
When the president first proposed the changes, there were people on the opposite side of the argument who spewed hateful epithets at me. What if their families had been afflicted with a life-threatening illness?
This important healthcare reform was passed for the one-third of Americans who previously did not have access to health insurance. It wasn't supposed to affect the other two-thirds who were happy with their healthcare.
I am a registered nurse in a nonprofit outpatient setting with patients who are mostly uninsured. The hardest part of my job is trying to find affordable services for patients who need care beyond our scope of practice. As the first benefits of the Affordable Care Act have kicked in, I have seen the positive difference it has made in patients' lives.
We are able to give needed information to young adults to help them get back on to their parents' insurance plans. And taxpayers don't pay for this — the young adults or their parents do. Now they have access to health insurance.
Does this hurt any of the two-thirds who say it hasn't affected them? Aren't they at least pleased that someone else may not be financially ruined if they are ill?
As a frequent visitor overseas and a retired hospital employee in an allied health profession, I can't for the life of me understand my fellow Americans who are so against health reform. It is not government-run — the insurance companies are still in charge, but they will be regulated to some degree. Our premiums will go toward medical care with emphasis on quality and efficiency, and, with everybody "in the pool," eventually at a lower cost.
This reform is a long-term fix, not instant gratification. The Western industrialized countries have had health systems in place for decades. It is about time we fix our system so we can compete in this global economy.