Happy Anniversary

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March 23rd.

A relatively unassuming day you might think. But this is a day that we should celebrate for a particular historical event in the USA that will change the lives of many for years to come.

This was the day that Franklin Beale invented the coin press for the U.S. mint, which quite possibly changed the longevity of money across the world.

21 years later Elisha Otis had the joy of seeing his first ever elevator installed at 488 Broadway NYC, making the possibility of skyscrapers a practical reality for evermore.

Generations of Americans were able to be provided with education due to the founding of the University of California (Oakland) in 1868.

Even more significant perhaps, was the landing for the first airplane at the U.S. Capitol, Washington DC in 1922, bringing aviation into public view and the emphasising the possibility of convenient and quick travel across the world for the first time.

Although perhaps a significant event in its time, I suspect that the release of 'Yes, We Have No Bananas' by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn in 1923 did not have a lasting historical impact on the USA, or any other country!

In 1929 the first telephone was installed in the White House, making every President of the most powerful nation in the world immediately contactable in the event of domestic or world crises.

On this date in both 1970 and 1985 the U.S. performed nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site, I guess with the hope that this would have a lasting and significant impact in the world.

Or possibly we should remember this date as it was the date in 1983 that President Ronald Regan introduced the Strategic Defense Initiative, otherwise known as 'Star Wars'?

Actually, the event in question, which arguably will have such a positive benefit to many millions of American citizens, is one which should go down in the history books and taught to future generations as one which should be truly celebrated. For it was on this day in 2010 that the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as The ACA or Obamacare) was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Since the inception of the NHS in 1948 residents of the UK have been able to take pretty much for granted the benefits of universal (ish) healthcare which is free (ish) at the point of delivery, not based on ability to pay. The fundamental changes introduced as part of the ACA are really quite radical. Examples include:

  • About 76 million Americans in private health insurance plans are newly eligible to receive expanded coverage for services like immunizations, mammograms, and annual wellness checkups (all freely available in the UK);

  • Financial assistance is now available by right to help millions of people previously unable to afford a health plan now fit one into their budget;

  • Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to someone with a pre-existing condition;

Even Americans who already had insurance can now reap the benefits provided by the law.

  • Obamacare began protecting consumers from arbitrary rate increases and preventing insurance companies from charging more just for being a woman.

Thanks in part to this health care reform, health care costs are now increasing at the slowest rate in decades. It's expected that the law will cost hundreds of billions of dollars less than originally expected. And the health of US citizens can only benefit from greater access to healthcare services. This should truly be a cause for celebration. Happy Anniversary ACA!

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