Healthcare law leads to better care, better lives

By Carmen Morales-Board, RN and SEIU Local 521 member


Carmen Morales, SEIU RN, believes we must fight to protect the Affordable Care Act for patients.My fellow nurses and I fought hard for the Affordable Care Act, and after it was passed we engaged in an education campaign to make sure our patients and the communities knew about the benefits of the law.

Now, we can focus on providing the best care possible, rather than navigating the limits and barriers posed by their insurance status.

As a perioperative nurse practitioner and certified diabetes educator, I witness daily the devastating effects of unmanaged chronic disease on the patients in my care. Limb amputation, stroke and kidney failure due to uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension is a sad reality for those unable to access essential primary/preventive care services and lifesaving medications.

The Affordable Care Act removes financial barriers to front-line care by eliminating co-payments for basic healthcare services. There are new initiatives and programs to provide care and promote wellness.

In 2011, co-pays were eliminated for 9 million Californians, and 245 new community health centers are providing basic health care services in areas of the state where they are most needed. Through the county Public Health Services Department’s Community Transformation Grant, we’re going to start seeing more community gardens, farmers markets, and increased walkability.

Additionally, millions of Americans will receive insurance rebates this summer via the law’s 80-20 rule. Insurance companies must now put 80 percent of premiums toward healthcare services or care improvement; if they spend more than 20 percent of premiums on operating costs they must provide a rebate.

We are waiting for the ruling from the Supreme Court on certain parts of the law, and we are hearing the presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney talk about repealing the healthcare law on his first day in office. What all Americans should know is that we will be there to fight for our patients and for the future of healthcare in this country.

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