Americans deserve quality health care
OK, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld much of the president's signature health care legislation, The Affordable Care Act, nicknamed Obamacare.
With a split ruling, the court decided the requirement that nearly all Americans must carry health insurance or pay a penalty, is constitutional under Congress' power to tax.
Nancy M. Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System and winner of the 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, sent a note to her entire staff shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, saying in part: “The Supreme Court made a landmark decision today to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) a.k.a., Obamacare. I see this as a positive development for our nation's health care and a major move in the right direction to providing better health care access and quality for all of our Henry Ford Health System patients.”
The policies and the law can and have been hotly debated. What is not debatable is the problem with how to pay for health care in the good ol’ USA.
Politics aside, Governor Rick Snyder, his budget director and the Michigan Legislature, have to be breathing a sigh of relief with this decision.
Medicaid's rising cost is blowing holes in state budgets across the country, with exploding health care cost for the thousands without jobs and health insurance as a result of the changing world economy and the great recession of 2008.
It is reported that in Michigan more than 900,000 of our 1.1 million uninsured people likely will be eligible for Medicaid or other insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
Michigan's Medicaid budget already is squeezing other state priorities off the balance sheet as health care costs for poor and uninsured continue to explode. The Medicaid program takes up twice the share of state budgets as it did a quarter-century ago and is crowding out spending on other items such as pre-K-12 and higher education, which will make us stronger on the world stage.
While it might be construed that President Obama has “won” by having the Supreme Court uphold a signature piece of his landmark health care legislation, it has handed the Republicans another reason to try and defeat this president, take control of Congress and attempt overturning the law. Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney is polling only two points behind President Obama, and has pledged to repeal Obamacare on Day One if elected.
The Supremes have provided political ammunition for the left and the right in the upcoming presidential election. Each side will use the issue to raise cash, pummel the other side, and try to gain the upper hand for their guy come election day.
Moments after the Supreme Court decision was released, I began to receive fundraising appeals from Republican and Democratic groups alike, each predicting disaster if the other side prevails.
Yet, political rhetoric won’t pay for the cost of care for those with health issues and no ability to pay.
The Supremes have spoken: this debate will continue.
We all know the issue will be hotly contested for some time to come — not as a means toward solving a problem — but to gain political points.
It is enough to make you sick.
Tom Watkins was Michigan’s state superintendent of schools from 2001-05 and is now a U.S.-China business and educational consultant. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.