The Rev. Damaris Whittaker addresses the press in company with health care advocates at the Legislative Office Building.
Photos by Eric Anderson
by Eric Anderson
HARTFORD (06/28/2012) -- Universal health care advocates celebrated today's 5-4 ruling by the United States Supreme Court, which upheld the core of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. In a press conference held at the Connecticut Legislative Office Building in Hartford, the Rev. Damaris Whittaker spoke on behalf of the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care, saying, "While we feel that we really have achieved a great victory... we recognize that we have a lot of work to do... Change has come!"
"This fight wasn't just about mandates or insurance," said Imam Kashif Abdul-Karim of the Islamic Center of Greater Hartford, and co-chair of the Interfaith Fellowship. "It was about what kind of country we want to be: a deeply divided unequal one that gives advantage to the very few at the expense of the many, or a country that cares for all of its people and treats them all as equals."
|Imam Kashif Abdul-Karim|
In the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court accepted the constitutionality of the "individual mandate" under Congress' power to tax. The court further ruled that the penalties imposed for states' refusal to take part in the expansion of Medicaid were unconstitutional, but endorsed the expansion itself provided legislatures could choose freely whether to participate.
One benificiary of the ACA is the family of Rabbi Joseph Ron Fish, who leads Congregation Beth El in Norwalk. After his son was treated for a cleft lip as an infant, the family found themselves captive to their insurance company, because his surgery was classified as a pre-existing condition. Under the law, his son can no longer be denied coverage.
"We as a nation today have articulated the basic idea that we will not allow our children, our adults, our men, our women; we will not allow our people to be without help and hope. We will heal the broken hearted, and we will bind up the wounds of those who bleed."
|Rabbi Joseph Ron Fish with other members of the Interfaith Fellowship.|
Abdul-Karim and other speakers, including the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut's Frances Padilla, called for state Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the General Assembly to continue their work toward access to quality, affordable health care for all citizens. "The Court's affirmation of the ACA is a victory for the American people," said Padilla. "While many residents are already benefiting from the ACA, the heavy-lift of health reform was always at the state level, and Connecticut must continue to lead the way."
The Rev. Eric S. Anderson is Minister of Communications and Technology for the Connecticut Conference UCC.