More senior Americans stand a chance of seeing the new year through to the end, thanks to one of the several provisions of The Affordable Care Act (ACA) that take affect today: help with the infamous and deadly "donut hole."
Last year about this time, my husband and I took a little day trip with a group from our local senior center. Most of the people on the bus were retired and dependent on Medicare for their basic health care expenses. They were worried.
Those taking prescription medications necessary to protect their health—and in some cases, their lives—were now facing a three-month period during which they could afford to buy them, if at all, only with extreme financial sacrifice or help from their families. Medications for heart problems, epilepsy, even cancer were suddenly beyond the means of many seniors on the bus and throughout the country. They were faced with the prospect of not being able to take their life-giving prescriptions during one whole quarter of the year—and in some cases two quarters—because they couldn't afford them.
For most seniors, the cruel and inexplicable complexities of George Bush's prescription "help" plan—a deficit-busting plan crafted with the help of the insurance industry to ensure maximum profits for them—was like giving bread and water to starving people: it couldn't help much or for long, but it was better than nothing.
Happily, the new year begins with real help from the new health care plan so many disparagingly call "Obamacare."
Thanks, Mr. President!