Ringing Out the Old: Discriminatory Health Insurance Now Outlawed in America

Good riddance to 2013 and, with it, to a century of discriminatory health insurance in the United States.

As of today, January 1, 2014, discriminatory health insurance and arbitrary coverage decisions are outlawed.

As the D.C. media feigns apoplexy over enrollment rates in the Affordable Care Act, the rest of the country will awaken to a world in which women will not be charged higher rates because of their gender, people with pre-existing illnesses will be covered, people will not live in constant fear of being an illness away from bankruptcy, our wives, sisters and mothers can have their breast cancers discovered in time for cure, fewer teenage pregnancies will occur due to free contraception, those with chronic illnesses will not have annual or lifetime caps on coverage to worry about and the cost of prescription drugs for seniors will be increasingly covered.

Medicare's solvency is extended from the end of 2015 (next year!) to 2026. Every time the Republican House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they also voted for Medicare to become insolvent at the end of next year.

Let us take this moment to reflect on how far we have come, and how long it took this country to get there.

As we ring out the old, professional hand-wringers, whose business literally depends on attacking health care, will try to grab the national microphone, but we will need to distinguish them from those who identify ways to improve the outcome of providing increasingly high-quality disease prevention and treatment at lower costs.

That journey begins today, from a new starting line.

Never were the words of Teddy Roosevelt, the man who began this quest, truer that the "credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena."

I raise my glass of champagne especially to the president who persisted, and to all those members of Congress who risked and sometimes lost their political careers to the forces of fear and hysteria stirred by billionaire-funded lackeys.

Happy New Year to all!!