We must defend healthcare access as a right of all Americans.

AuthorGraves, Earl G., Jr.
PositionPUBLISHER'S PAGE - Column

SHOULD ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HEALTH insurance and quality healthcare be an inalienable right of all Americans or a benefit reserved for the wealthy and privileged minority who can afford it?

America has wrestled with this question for much of the past century, with both Democratic and Republican presidential administrations trying--and failing--to come up with a legal, ethical, and economically viable solution in service to the American people. Finally, former President Barack Obama succeeded, with the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA also known as Obamacare) in 2010. The enactment of that federal statute was a resounding affirmation: In the wealthiest country on the planet, access to affordable and quality healthcare should be a right, not a privilege.

The ACA is of significant benefit to African Americans, who suffer disproportionately from lack of health insurance and access to quality healthcare options. Prior to Obamacare, many African Americans who lacked the financial wherewithal to have access to a broad network of doctors and health services were forced to accept little more than emergency-room medicine and underfunded, understaffed clinics--or no healthcare at all.

Then, immediately upon taking office, the newly elected Republican administration led by President Donald Trump launched its push to repeal Obamacare, in an effort to fulfill one of the biggest promises of his campaign and a top goal on the GOP agenda. Alarmingly, these efforts seem to have nothing to do with what's best for Americans, and everything to do with the new presidential administration's obsession with erasing the accomplishments and legacy of President Trump's African American predecessor.

Early efforts at repealing Obamacare have been limited by Democratic leaders' determined efforts to protect ACA, and the popularity of key provisions such as guaranteed insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and for individual children who did not have coverage via their families, as well as...

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