The Lakota universe can be described as Mitakuye Oyasin.
That means that everything is connected,
Interrelated, and dependent in order to exist.
The universe includes all things that grow,
things that fly-everything you see in the world
or the place that you walk on.
These are all included in what
The Lakota see as the universe.
All of this is related.
Robert Two Crow, Community Curator, 1999
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Your car has a group of idiot lights that alert you when the vehicle needs service. If the tires need air, a light comes on. When the car needs gas, a different light comes on. Time for an oil change? There is a light for that, too. Until now there hasn’t been an idiot light to warn the American public that our health care system is under attack. Until now. On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Texas v. U.S., the lawsuit that could dismantle the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The red light is on.
The 974 pages of the PPACA touch every aspect of how Americans access and pay for health care. It is far from perfect. It did not even do everything it set out to accomplish. But millions of Americans have benefited from:
- Coverage for preexisting conditions
- Policies that are guaranteed issue
- Maternity treated the same as any other condition
- Children covered till age 26 on a parent’s policy
- Medicaid expanded to cover the working poor
- No maximum benefit
Successive Republican Congresses and the current administration have promised something better. There have been over 60 votes to repeal the law. The Supreme Court has upheld the law twice. Donald Trump promised that he would cover everybody with a plan that would cost less and provide better coverage. After he was elected he said, “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated”. No sir. Everybody knew but you.
Eliminate the law and you eliminate our protections. Amend the law, improve the law and we retain the benefits Americans need and have come to expect.
This is all connected. The Individual Mandate was designed to enlarge the pool of insureds. We can’t build a health care system based on the sick and responsible. The 23 year old woman might get pregnant. The 63 year old man might develop prostate cancer. And any of us could fall victim to the Coronavirus or countless other risks. An efficient health care system must collect enough money to be prepared for the illnesses and accidents that inevitably strike all humans.
Few of us could ever pay all of the costs associated with our health care. So whether or not we wish to admit it, we are connected. The Texas lawsuit doesn’t end the connection, just our current method of addressing the costs.
There aren’t any viable alternatives on the table. Russell Voight, Trump’s Acting Office of Management and Budget Director, was asked last month during his Congressional testimony about the president’s health care plan. “The president is working on his own plan that we’re not yet ready to reveal.” This plan is as non-existent as his pre-election plan. Your preexisting conditions are real. His plans are not.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this summer, but it is unlikely that a ruling will be issued prior to Election Day. The red is flashing. The invalidation of Obamacare, ruling that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, would cause immediate irreparable chaos.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Picture – The Lakota Universe – David L Cunix. This is part of the exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC.