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Access to health care shouldn't require luck

Posted: July 3, 2012 - 11:06pm

I may have lupus, but I’m lucky.

When I was 13 and growing up in Augusta, I began to experience the same symptoms of the chronic inflammatory disease that my mother was diagnosed with in her early 30s. A group of capable doctors identified the problems and developed a course of observation and treatment.

The health insurance offered by my dad’s job as a hotel manager, in addition to the love and care of my wonderful parents, made it possible for me to become the reasonably healthy college student that I am today.

But millions haven’t been as lucky. More than 50 million Americans lack health insurance altogether, and 29 million adults are underinsured. That’s one in four Americans who, if confronted with anything from a cold to cancer, can’t get adequate treatment at a reasonable price.

Many of the Affordable Care Act’s opponents say that people who lack coverage chose to be that way. But that’s overwhelmingly not the situation. Millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, what insurers call past health complications, are denied coverage.

The truth is that most American adults, if their or their spouses’ jobs don’t provide affordable health insurance, have little choice but to remain uninsured. And millions of people who do have coverage go bankrupt or have trouble paying their medical bills when they or their relatives get sick.

The conservatives who are attacking the Affordable Care Act make the groundless claim that it would usher in some kind of socialist system. Yet the simple fact is that the 2010 health care reform will mean that 82 million Americans will have access to the doctors, treatments and medicine they need to be the best students, parents, employees and community members that they can be.

Undoubtedly, the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect. But I’m still celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling as a promising sign that Americans are on the brink of adopting a health care system based on a sense of community, not luck.

For me, the Affordable Care Act means that when I graduate from college, I won’t have to take a job that I hate to get the health care that I need because of the increase in options this act creates. For many people, however, it’s something much bigger – a monumental opportunity to better their lives by obtaining access to health care.

(Hilary Matfess, a 2010 graduate of Greenbrier High School, is an intern in the Institute for Policy Studies and student at Johns Hopkins University.)

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Comments (8)

Craig Spinks

Congratulations, Hilary.

You do your Mom, your Dad and Greenbrier High proud.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence


Ms Matfess, Who Should Pay

You point out a problem, now let's do a little dialogue. Who should pay for this health care for all? Should physicians and hospitals treat them for free? Can we make physicians work for free? Or do you think the uninsured are treated now on a space available basis?

Maybe you, as the Democrats want, feel we should all pay more taxes to provide the same level of health care your parents paid for you to have for everyone? How many did you say...50 million? When you get a job and start paying for them and get back to me how that feels.



Your father worked and PAID for his health insurance, is that luck? You are a "healthy college student ", was that "luck" or hard work? While you are celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling, think what Congress can now force you to buy, an electric car,solar panels,particular kinds of foods or contraceptives for yourself. I consider the SCOTUS ruling unlucky for those that share the founding fathers idea of liberty and limited government.

Thomas "Woody" Highsmith

Craig Spinks


Should one's behavior be governed by how one feels- or by how one thinks?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

Craig Spinks

Uncle Remus,

Hilary rightfully considers herself lucky to have been born in the US of A to caring parents like Lisa and Marty. She's lucky on at least two counts.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence


there was a time when

no one had health insurance. How did they survive to give us life? When someone else was not paying for doctors visits, we went for compound fractures and pumping arteries. Government has created a whole new set of God given rights, that they, the government, will gladly provide.


government will pay

for you to kill your baby or provide it with medical care for life.


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