MINGO JUNCTION, Ohio - The U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) begins today. The law has not yet been fully implemented, but last year, more than 86 million Americans received preventive care - such as mammograms and colonoscopies - with no cost-sharing. More than 2.5 million young adults gained coverage on their parents' plans, and millions using Medicare have saved literally billions on prescriptions because of changes.
Registered nurse Cathy Stoddard in Mingo Junction, who is also a member of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU, says families and patients are learning that the law brings them security.
"I take care of patients every day who used to have to choose between the medicines that they take and the food on their table. And now, for your grandma, for mine, for our parents, it's fixed."
Republicans in Congress want to repeal the entire law, but provide no solutions of their own for health care. Challenges to the law will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court, through Wednesday (Mar. 28).
Nurses represented by the Nurse Alliance of SEIU have been educating patients and communities about the rights and protections they are entitled to under the law, and pushing to move it forward to protect patients. That means requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, requiring members of Congress to get the same care as millions of Americans, cracking down on waste and fraud in Medicare and allowing small businesses to band together to buy more affordable coverage.
Stoddard says itís rewarding to see the look of relief on peopleís faces in her economically hard-hit town, when they learn the ACA already has benefits for them, their parents, or their children.
"Knowing that they didn't have to worry because one of the two parents is out of work, and they could make sure that their kids were covered clear up to age 26. That's amazing."
Nurses have been, and will remain, on the front lines providing care, and believe that patients and providers should be in charge of health care decisions - not insurance companies.