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Healthcare Access and Equity the Highest Forms of Justice

Regardless of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling, the nation must grapple with the problem of healthcare in America. It is the personal healthcare dilemmas of the nation’s people; how individuals take care of their healthcare needs, those of their families and perhaps employees that pose the greatest threat to economic competitiveness, overall health status, and quality of life.

Though not perfect, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ((PPACA) provides the infrastructure to support affordable preventative care and regular medical attention for the broadest sector of the population.  But the law’s intentions, including consumer protections, have taken a backseat to the issues of constitutionality and precedence.

While, the Constitution and legal precedence are important, the nation has never faced the current set of circumstances, and America’s history does evidence its ability to respond in new ways to new challenges for the benefit of its people.  That has been the hallmark of its democracy.   Paradoxically, it is due to democracy, partisan politics, and divergent opinion, that the law is being debated in the Supreme Court.

I am, like many Americans, anxiously awaiting the Court’s decision and hoping to exhale a sigh of relief.  In any case, I’m wondering how the healthcare law will be revised, revived, and reflected by candidates during their presidential campaigns.  Beyond that, it will be the perceptions of the nation’s people, formed by political pundits, media, and intentional misinformation that are likely to determine reform’s treatment and outcome.

Whether by its name, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or by the pejorative “Obamacare”, the healthcare law has been for millions of Americans, the brightest beacon of hope since Medicare.  PPACA’s beneficiaries know first-hand that healthcare costs skyrocket faster than income, and that astronomically priced private insurance does not guarantee benefits necessary for optimum health.

While once thought to be the dilemma of poor folks, it’s now middle class America perched on the slippery slope of healthcare insecurity.  Many have fallen, and without help they won’t be able to get back up.

As a small business owner, I can’t help but wonder how the nation will rebound economically if our healthcare crisis isn’t solved. Entrepreneurs are faced with the quadruple whammy, how to:  1) provide for personal and family healthcare needs, 2) expand their business, 3) create jobs, and 4) attract talent by offering healthcare benefits.

Typically small group employers or self-employed persons are charged 30 percent more for lesser benefit options.   Finding affordable coverage for employees is for most, impossibility.  This economic disadvantage causes health inequity for the group responsible for providing 80% of the nation’s jobs, and the people who fill them.

If a group this large doesn’t have regular access to healthcare, what is the physical, economic, and social carnage that will ensue?  Will government get involved then?   Small business owners are accustomed to making hard decisions, especially those that point to survival.

If government retracts from the progress made on healthcare, when faced the aforementioned choices, small business will opt out of the quadruple whammy in favor of the triple bypass.  I wonder what the courts and presidential candidates and have to say about that?

Cheryl Harris Forbes is a managing principal of her integrated marketing consultancy firm, Harris Forbes Associates. Connect with Cheryl on Twitter or LinkedIN.    

Health Justice CT provides a public forum for conversations, ideas and collective action. The opinion expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of HealthJusticeCT or our funder.

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About Cheryl Harris Forbes

Cheryl Harris Forbes is a managing principal of her integrated marketing consultancy firm, Harris Forbes Associates. Connect with Cheryl on Twitter or LinkedIN. Learn more about Cheryl here.

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