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Millenials – Let’s Take Back Our Health

Most people throughout the country are well aware that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to as Obamacare, rolled out on October 1st. The high profile debut of the ACA was pretty hard to miss. Its enactment was so contentious that resistance to the legislation by House Republicans sparked the sixteen-day stalemate. You know, that thing we call the Federal Government Shutdown of 2013.

No piece of legislation is perfect and the ACA is no exception to this rule. Still, the law has a ton of benefits that are continuously being overlooked.  Let’s take a moment to recognize the bills many strengths:

First and foremost, the ACA brings the issue of healthcare into the forefront of our medical discussions. Healthcare prevention, practices, and policies, often come into conversation when circumstances take a turn for the worse. Talking about healthcare when you are sick makes sense, but we are probably better off taking our healthcare into consideration before those emergency situations that force us to do so.

Second, the ACA is a vehicle to address minority health disparities in a large forum. Today, African-Americans and Latinos overwhelming represent the number of individuals who are uninsured. With the onset of the ACA, these individuals will have direct access to healthcare coverage. Their coverage consequently gives minorities opportunities to take control of their health in a more proactive manner. It is common to see ailments like asthma, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes throughout minority communities but these diseases can be mitigated if they are addressed preemptively rather than reactively.

Third, the ACA opens many doors. It provides coverage for small businesses that often cannot take on the fiscal responsibility of healthcare for their employees. It ensures that healthcare providers cannot discriminate against people due to a preexisting condition. It ensures that being a woman does not qualify as one of those pre-existing conditions and grants women access to maternity benefits.

There are more positive attributes of the ACA, but there are difficulties and nuances. One of which is that the law is that can only succeed with the support of the American people. For the law to operate in its full vision, Americans have to be open to these changes and buy into improving our healthcare system.

Let us not forget the title of this law, the Affordable Care Act. The purpose of the legislation was is to adjust our current system so that medical care is something that is financially accessible to all Americans despite their backgrounds. Affordable, however, is a bit of a double entendre. Not only does the word signify the low cost of insurance but also that we cannot afford to fail in the enactment of these changes. Universal access to physical and/or mental health should not a privilege guaranteed to the few. Access to healthcare is a right that all Americans hold and should be recognized in that way.

Particularly during these early stages, educating ourselves and sharing what we learn with our networks is paramount. Decisions to follow or disagree with the ACA are both viable responses only if we are fully informed and understand the law.  As millennials, we have the power to essentially make or break this law. The ACA is a law that can change the way healthcare is perceived and operates in this country. As millennials we have the power to revolutionize this issue and really bring our country into twenty-first century healthcare conversations and policies. This is an opportunity to lead that millennials cannot ignore. It is a chance to publicly and loudly take back our health and advocate for the health of our fellow citizens.

Written by Colleen Roberts

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