We're among the constituents of Rep. Jerry McNerney who are grateful for his vote in favor of the historic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Here are some of the benefits we'll be seeing within six months:
* Insurers can no longer deny cover to children based on pre-existing conditions (that phases in for everybody by 2014).
* Insurance companies can no longer cancel your policy just because you get sick.
* Insurers can no longer set annual or lifetime coverage limits.
* Seniors now can get prescription drugs at a reasonable cost.
* Children and young adults will be permitted to remain on their parents' insurance plan until their 27th birthday.
* Insurers are prohibited from charging co-pays or deductibles for preventative care and medical screenings on new insurance plans.
It saddens us to see a vocal minority of Tea Party activists and Republicans using over-the-top rhetoric ("government takeover of health care") to characterize this long-overdue reform of our health care laws. When people are informed of the actual contents of this legislation, a sizable majority supports its major provisions.
We have someone in our family, hit by an adult-onset illness, who now has a more secure future, and we suspect that many of those who are most vocal in their opposition will be among the first to take advantage of the law when they or their relatives need help.