WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). None of the healthcare law's benefits that have already taken effect will be rolled back - and to Denise Glass, a registered nurse (RN) from Miami, Florida, that's a blessing.
"We're going to be able to provide the type of care and the quality of care that we want to, on a daily basis."
Glass says the ruling gives patients and providers more control over healthcare decisions, instead of the insurance industry. It means insurance companies are still obliged to cover people with preexisting conditions; allow young adults up to age 26 to gain coverage through their parent's plans; access free preventive care; eliminate co-pays for such essential health services as check-ups, cancer screenings and contraception; and close the Medicare prescription coverage cost gap for seniors, often known as the "donut hole."
Raushanah Abdullah, an RN in Las Vegas, Nevada, says this law is critical for the patients she treats. They are working, she explains, but simply have not been able to afford the cost of healthcare.
"With the economy being the way it is and people are not insured, they come to the hospital. They have hypertension, they are not able to pay for their medications. I see a lot of women not getting their mammograms, they're not getting their Pap smears. The insurance companies just run families ragged."
Despite the Supreme Court ruling, Republicans in Congress have promised to continue their fight to remove the protections of the law. Michelle Boyle, a nurse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, says she's seen too many people unable to get the care they need, to let that happen.
"We have always fought for the best care for our patients, and we will continue to do so today, tomorrow, next week and next year. We're going to continue the fight for the best patient care because that's why we came into nursing."
Abudullah, Boyle, and Glass are members of the SEIU Nurses Alliance. In an official statement, the fastest-growing union in the Americas described the court's decision as "a rejection of the cynical approach of extremist Republicans" who they say have "put politics ahead of working people."