In the community of New Braunfels, Texas, home to nearly 100,000 people, I am one of only four doctors who accept Medicaid for pregnant patients. I started my private practice to serve those who would not otherwise be able to afford healthcare services, including annual physicals, childbirth and long-term care. I accept forms of insurance most healthcare providers do not, and I work with my patients to find treatment and payment plans that fit their schedules and their budgets.
Texas v. United States is the latest political attack on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Led by self-interested politicians and greedy corporations, the lawsuit puts the health of tens of millions of Americans on the line. If the 5th Circuit judges choose to side with elected officials who have no plan to improve or strengthen our healthcare system, the consequences would be detrimental.
Each one of my patients insured through Medicaid work long, demanding hours at low-wage jobs. These individuals depend on the ACA for healthcare options that do not demand the impossible choice of paying for health insurance or feeding families and paying bills. To my patients, every dollar counts, and they can’t afford to bear the additional burdens that would be thrust upon them should the ACA be struck down.
The healthcare law was a significant step forward in expanding affordable healthcare for millions of Americans, delivering essential protections from insurance company abuses and providing more preventive care at no cost to patients. Instead of dismantling the law, lawmakers must work toward finding solutions to existing barriers to care and pass legislation that protects patients from politically-motivated attacks.
I refuse to accept a negative outcome to this case and will press forward for my patients no matter what. In addition to joining my colleagues in advocating for legislative solutions and testifying on behalf of our patients, I’m calling on doctors and other healthcare providers to invest in their communities and commit to expanding their practices to include all patients, regardless of their insurance plans. Join me in my fight to preserve the benefits and protections of the ACA to ensure universal healthcare for all.
By Dr. Jessica Edwards, president, SEIU Committee of Interns and Residents