Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) June 29, 2012
Author Judy Gray Johnson, who has written a well-received memoir on her life with sickle cell disease, praises the Supreme Court for upholding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care act on Thursday, June 28, 2012.
Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round and they move through small blood vessels carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. However, the red blood cells of persons with sickle cell disease become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a sickle. Sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Sickle cells can get stuck in small blood vessels and block the flow of blood and oxygen to organs in the body. These blockages cause repeated episodes of severe pain, organ damage, serious infections, or even stroke.
“On behalf of the 70,000 to 100,000 sickle cell sufferers in the United States, I want to thank Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Associate Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagen, and Sonia Sotomayor for their ruling on the Affordable Care Act,” says Judy, the author of the new memoir Living With Sickle Cell Disease: The Struggle to Survive.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, upheld the constitutionality of the so-called individual mandate, the core of the law. The mandate requires individuals not covered by employer- or government-sponsored insurance plans to maintain minimal essential health insurance coverage or pay a penalty unless exempted for religious beliefs or financial hardship.
The law’s proponents say that the individual mandate is needed to require insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions and spread the risk among a larger pool of people. Insurers believe healthy people will not buy health insurance until they get sick. That would create a situation where insurers are paying out more to cover treatment for ill people than they collect in premiums from healthy people.
Judy notes that the individual mandate was crucial in that it would require everyone in the United States to buy health insurance so that insurers cannot refuse to provide coverage to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, a common practice prior to the law’s 2010 enactment. And since sickle cell disease is a hereditary blood disorder, its sufferers fall into the category of having an incurable “pre-existing condition” at birth, she says. Sickle cell occurs in about one of every 500 African American births and one of every 36,000 Hispanic American births.
“Through no fault of our own, we are saddled with a health condition that commands our attention on a daily basis,” Judy says. “Insurance companies would not insure us because of this. We are doomed from Day One to be denied coverage. And if we are so fortunate to get coverage, then premiums will be much higher than those of the average healthy person.”
A key argument of the law’s opponents is that Congress has no power to force individuals to buy health insurance, or any other product or service under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. However, the court’s majority opinion held that the individual mandate is a tax, which Congress has power to impose.
The individual mandate provision "need not be read to do more than impose a tax," the opinion said. "That is sufficient to sustain it."
Judy notes that unlike many sickle cell patients, she was fortunate to have had health insurance coverage while working as a public school teacher, which helped to defray the thousands of dollars of care she received while going through excruciating pain episodes.
“Health care for us is a life or death issue,” Judy says. “As we get older, we also have to be concerned with developing liver problems, kidney failure, bone degeneration, strokes, and hypertension.”
In Living With Sickle Cell Disease: The Struggle to Survive, Judy describes in crystal-clear detail her life with sickle cell disease, including how she endured repeated instances of insensitive treatment from doctors and nurses whenever she went to emergency rooms seeking relief from severe pain episodes brought on by sickle cell disease. The book tells readers how Judy lived her life while enduring the incurable pain and fatigue.
Judy has been interviewed about her book by several on-air and internet radio hosts, including Keeping it Real, hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Living With Sickle Cell Disease: The Struggle to Survive is available in hard cover, paperback and e-book versions through http://www.lulu.com. Her book is also available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple’s iBookstore. Readers also may visit Judy’s website at http://www.judygrayjohnson.com.