By now, news of the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the King v. Burwell ruling has resonated throughout the media and permeated our daily conversations with friends, co-workers and family.
As an organization focused on the mission of leading the fight for the arthritis community, we prefer to direct our efforts and energies toward issues that will improve the lives of people living with arthritis and steer clear of polarizing political issues that serve only to divide us and slow progress. However, this ruling is not a political issue for the Arthritis Foundation. This ruling is a victory for the more than 6- million Americans who faced the possibility of becoming uninsured, including countless numbers living with arthritis.
So often, people living with arthritis suffer in silence. They live with a debilitating and misunderstood disease that affects people of all ages, at times robbing them of their independence, freedom to perform everyday activities and withholding simple childhood joys from the 300,000 children living with the disease. For these reasons, we cannot sit quietly on the sidelines on this issue.
As a Champion of Yes for people living with arthritis, we applaud loudly:
- For every mother who drives six hours to the closest pediatric rheumatologist
- For every young professional struggling with a flare up on their first business trip
- For every undiagnosed person seeking a name for their yet-to-be explained symptoms
- For every person deciding how and if they can afford a new biologic that may change their life
No one should have to live in pain or experience debilitating symptoms for which there is treatment in the United States. And while the current version of the Affordable Care Act is by no means an infallible piece of legislation, it has expanded access to preventative care and protected those with pre-existing conditions (including more than 53 million people living with arthritis) from becoming “uninsurable.”
We applaud today, but there is still more work to be done tomorrow. As the Arthritis Foundation leads the fight to pass key legislation that would improve the everyday lives of people living with arthritis, we look ahead to our next challenges. The fight to pass the 21st Century Cures Act, the Patients Access to Treatment Act, the Ensuring Children’s Access to Specialty Care Act and countless state bills focused on improving access to arthritis treatment and research for a cure.
But for now… in this moment… we at the Arthritis Foundation take up our pennants and raise our voices as true Champions of Yes.