The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. The Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Here are five reasons to support it:
The 250 million Americans who currently have health insurance can keep it. No questions asked.
For 30 million Americans without insurance, the opportunity to get coverage through so-called exchanges becomes available in 2014. If states opt not to create these private market purchasing environments (Oklahoma has yet to do so), the federal exchange will apply. State leaders should create our own exchange within the Insure Oklahoma Plan. For individuals who refuse to get insurance, a small fine will be imposed to help pay for the federal act. Why should the rest of us continue to pay for their health costs in the most expensive venue — the emergency room?
Young people can stay on their parents' insurance policies until age 26. Four million already have; by 2016, the number will be 20 million.
You can no longer be denied health coverage for pre-existing conditions, which helps tens of millions to get care.
States that refuse the expanded Medicaid coverage won't be penalized, but most will accept. Oklahoma has 700,000 uninsured. The federal government will pay for the full cost for the first three years of the expansion and then 80 percent to 90 percent after that. Why would we leave those folks uninsured? It only costs you and me more through our premiums.
This is the most important health care law since Medicare and Medicaid. Let's use it.
Cal Hobson, Lexington
Hobson, a Democrat, spent 28 years in the Legislature and was Senate president pro tem from 2003 to 2005.