Obamacare: More Success Than Failure So Far

peter-butlerBy Peter W. Butler, MHSA

More than six years after it was signed into law, the Affordable Care Act continues to arouse strong opinions and strong objections. Consider, for instance, the viewpoint made clear by the title of a Sept.11 Chicago Tribune editorial, “Why Obamacare Failed.”

Simply dismissing the ACA as a “failure,” however, is not supported by the facts when considered in the context of what Obamacare, as the ACA is more widely known, set out to accomplish. According to the obamacarefacts.com website, the goal of the Affordable Care Act is to “give more Americans access to affordable, quality health insurance and to reduce the growth in U.S. health care spending.”

Although some of the editorial made valid points about problems with state health insurance exchanges (marketplaces), especially in Illinois, the exchanges are a small part of Obamacare. The Tribune editorial board appears to have reached its conclusions based on premium increases and the limited number of choices available on the state exchanges.

How the ACA has helped

This view ignores a wide array of peer-reviewed data that examines the full impact of the ACA. These data and evaluations present a health care system that is performing much better than it was prior to the enactment of the ACA.

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‘You Have to Give People the Chance’

Despite his visual impairment, Muhammad Ullah and his family didn’t even know he had a disability when they immigrated to the U.S. Once his condition was diagnosed, it enabled him to receive help on his way to becoming a medical student at Rush.

Ullah credits the Americans With Disabilities Act, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last July, with opening doors for him. “You have to give people the chance,” he says. “It might not work out, but they can come in and they can do their best and contribute. … That’s what the ADA does … it really gives people opportunities.”

From the Archives: James B. Herrick, MD

HerrickClinic

This photo from the Rush Archives shows a clinic in 1900 featuring James B. Herrick, MD, a Rush Medical College graduate and faculty member who discovered sickle cell anemia.

Ernest E. Irons (Rush class of 1903), the intern who first brought the abnormal cells to Herrick’s attention, later became dean of Rush Medical College.

Helping People Breathe

EmileeLamorena_Schweitzer25By Emilee Lamorena

On Feb. 17, 2010, while I was teaching high school science in the Bronx, my mother was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. I quickly left everything — my teaching fellowship, my master’s degree program and my friends — and returned to Chicago to be with my family and my mom.

I always knew I was going to work in health care, but I wasn’t sure which route or specialty I was really interested in. While I saw my mother suffering, I came to a very big realization: There is nothing in the world harder than watching someone you love struggle for a breath. It was the most helpless feeling to not be able to alleviate any of that hardship.

After caring for her through her illness (my mother passed away about 10 months after she was diagnosed), I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to helping people breathe and supporting their loved ones. In 2011, I entered the Master of Science in Respiratory Care Program at Rush, where my mother received wonderful care, so I could help people care for their heart and lungs.

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Journey Through Medical School: The White Coat

This third installment of a video series chronicling Rush University student Joe Santamaria’s first year of medical school shows him donning the clinician’s uniform in the official white coat ceremony.

“Our goal as we literally put the white coat on them is also figurative,” says Paul Kent, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics, “for them to wear that and feel this new sense that I need to know this, because if I don’t, someone will get hurt. Not because there’s going to be a test on it.”

Related posts:

M1: A Student’s Journey Through Medical School

Meet Joe Santamaria, a first-year medical student at Rush University. Steve Gadomski of the Rush Photo Group will be checking in on him and sharing video updates throughout the school year.