Thursday, June 28, 2012

Just like Utley's Home Run


Coming into work today, I was fully prepared to be bitter for the majority of the day. Really, I was already a little bitter.
Today was the day the Supreme Court would reveal their decision on the Affordable Care Act.
Today was also the day that I believed the people that labeled the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” would win, with the law declared unconstitutional, and repealed.
As I’ve said before, I’m not one to put very much trust in politicians. I am very jaded by the bickering, sniping, missteps and back-steps American politics have been so full of during my lifetime.
Many of the things I believe in have been trampled down and gone by the wayside or just outright ignored by the American political spectrum.
The Affordable Care Act looked to be one of those things.
But, sitting at my desk and going through the start-up routine of checking e-mail and creating story assignments, someone in the office said to someone else, “Are you going to get something up about the Supreme Court decision?”
I thought I’d heard somewhere that nothing would come down until the afternoon, so I was a little confused.
“You mean they decided?” I asked aloud to anyone.
“Yeah.”
Instantly, I checked Mark Knoller, my go-to for presidential politics, on Twitter, who confirmed that the law was upheld.
For days, I’d been through articles that basically prepared me for the worst. But when push came to shove, the outcome I’d hoped for came through.
I had a flashback feeling to last night when Chase Utley, whose knees seemed so bad that many were saying he’d never return to form, smacked a home run to right in his first at-bat back in a Phillies uniform.
Like Utley’s home run during such an abysmal Phillies season, the court’s ruling today feels like a glimmer of hope, that maybe things aren’t as bad as I think they are.
I don’t pretend to be an expert in the field of law. I do my best to struggle through court dockets and preliminary hearings in my day-to-day job. But I feel that I’ve kept myself knowledgeable about the Affordable Care Act and have talked with a diverse-enough crowd about it that I understand what it does and what it does not do for Americans.
For me, whether or not this law passed muster there would have no effect on whether I was covered for health care or not. I currently have a job that provides benefits that I’ll keep for the foreseeable future until the higher-ups figure out I’m not very good at said job. I have health care (well, in theory; I have to clear a few things up with HR).
But I also want the best for people. I know a lot of people that need this. In my experience, in what I’ve seen, the benefits of the Affordable Care Act far outweigh the cons.
I won’t have to pay the health care tax when this kicks in (provided I still have this job and its benefits). But if I didn’t, if I had to pay that tax, then that’s how it is and should be.
While in Wisconsin, I saw collective bargaining rights stripped from public workers. I did a lot of interviews and came across a lot of different people. A large portion of those that showed up to the protests in February of 2011 weren’t the ones having their CBA rights taken away. They were there to support those that did because they wanted to help out, because they were trying to look out for other people.
The most common opinion I found of those that were in favor of Governor Scott Walker’s bill?
“I don’t get those rights, why should they?
It was straight-up jealousy.
It wasn’t even about the reasons Walker claimed, lightening the state debt or promoting business, (which I highly doubted were even his own reasons). It was about being angry that someone has something they didn’t.
By and large, most of the things I pay taxes for don’t directly benefit me. I have a lot of the things I need and taxes don’t provide them for me.
But I don’t think twice about paying them because I (probably naively) know those taxes are supposed to go toward things that help people.
Helping someone can’t be limited to a choice. It needs to be mandatory and, in my mind, that’s where the Affordable Care Act comes in.
If some people have to get taxed, a group of people that could potentially include me at some point, as a provision in a law that ensures people with pre-existing conditions get the coverage they need to live as full a life as mine or anyone else’s, then that's what needs to be done.
For that, I’m sure I’ll be labeled a communist.
Oh well. I guess you can’t win them all.
But I think I already got the win I needed today around 10:30 this morning.

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