Critics of the new health care reform point to the mandate that, in essence, forces people to buy health care insurance as one of the many problems with the law. One Massachusetts woman would argue that point, and she ought to know -- she was forced to buy insurance, and she's still alive because of it.
President Obama and Democrats used the Massachusetts health care model to craft their bill. The state law calls for everyone to buy insurance. Over the past three years, more than 400,000 Massachusetts residents had to buy insurance or face a fine -- just like the new federal law.
Jaclyn Michalos is one of those people. Shortly having to buy insurance three years ago, Michalos was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. She was just 27 years old at the time. She had to have a double mastectomy, resulting in $150,000 in medical bills. Her new insurance plan covered it all.
"Honest to God, it saved my life," Michalos told the New York Daily News.
Not everyone is as happy with the insurance laws as Michalos. Many small-business owners are irate over new fines and premiums. Hospitals say they are getting whacked financially by an influx of new Medicaid patients. And others complain that with all the newly insured seeking care, it can take months to get a checkup from primary care physicians, who are suddenly in enormous demand.
The bottom line is that 97.3% of Massachusetts residents are now insured, which is the goal of the federal law. As far as those who still oppose the reforms, listen to a teary George Michalos talk about his daughter's brush with death:
"If something bad happens to someone they love, they'll realize how important it is."