April 1, 2012
BOSTON — Before lawyers argued at the Supreme Court, groups behind the scenes and out of sight filed briefs with the high court to help the justices see more depth and nuance in the debate.
One of those groups, Doctors for America, supports President Barack Obama's health care plan.
DFA’s co-founder and president is Dr. Vivek Murthy of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
"Our belief is if we know what we have in the law, not only are we better equipped to make sure that the law is implemented well, but we’re also in a better position to advocate for the solutions we need down the line to make for a good health care system," he said.
To that end, Doctors for America is mobilizing a nationwide grassroots effort to help educate doctors, patients and the general public to the benefits of the Affordable Care Act that was argued before the Supreme Court March 26–28.
Before Manisha Sharma was a board member for Doctors for America and even before she was a doctor in the Bronx, she was a music student at Berklee who got hit by a car.
Even though she had health insurance, "the next 7 years I had to fight the health care system to pay my medical bills while I was paying their premiums in order to see a doctor," Sharma said. And then, "because I got hit by a car, I had a pre-existing condition. And that’s how I came to become involved in health care reform."
Murthy said that the 15,000 members of Doctors for America represent various political persuasions — but that they are in sync about the need for health care reform and think the Affordable Care Act is the best they can get at this point.
And if it’s struck down by the Supreme Court? Murthy wasn't concerned about that.
"Our belief is the law will be upheld. We only need to look to Massachusetts, to our own home state to see that provisions that the act is putting in for the country can really be beneficial. We know that when people are covered and have access to care, that correlates with better health," he said.
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