Advocacy Groups Rally Downtown in Support of Supreme Court Healthcare Ruling

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A number of groups and individuals met today in Foley Square to rally in support of SCOTUS upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Health Care for All New York organized a "Rally to Respond" to the ruling, which was quickly retitled a "Rally to Celebrate," announced Director Mark Hannay to the crowd. Hannay was among several speakers-doctors, advocates and elected officials-addressing the jubilant crowd of community supporters at the evening rally. (by Alissa Fleck) Hannay called the ruling a "milestone step forward in the history of justice," pointing to the Declaration of Independence's insistence on the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Hannay said these rights cannot be met without affordable, accessible healthcare for all. Hannay added SCOTUS making healthcare a right for all means America is finally moving toward other industrialized nations, though he said we are only "9/10ths of the way down the field" and must continue to politically support those who uphold affordable healthcare. Other speakers laid out the main points of what the ruling would mean for Americans, and New Yorkers in particular, including a breakdown of what could be expected by 2014. State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried explained the ACA would help make health funding available for working families, encourage providers to communicate with one another and ensure senior citizens can afford necessary drugs among numerous other modifications. Preventive care will become more widely accessible, particularly pertinent to many women's health issues. Georgetown law student and women's rights advocate Sandra Fluke took the stand to applaud the efforts of Americans who worked to support the SCOTUS decision as well as to remind crowd members the fight is not over. ("I don't want to see ideologically-driven legislators work to repeal this decision so they can say they fought Obamacare," said Fluke. "We want the implementation of the whole Affordable Health Care Act and we want it now." All the speakers agreed this decision, while important, is foundational and there are still hurdles from here, including building on decisions made in Washington to make laws in New York "even better" and make health care "a right, not a privilege." Speaker Quinn called what happened in Washington an "incredibly American act" and said the days of no options for many sick people and "whether you could get treatment [meaning] how big your paycheck was" are coming to an end. "All have the right to get well, be well and stay well," said Quinn. "Let's make it even better."

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