Wow. This means that not only is there still great confusion over the content of health care reform -- but that the far-right media machine touted the word "repeal" so much that a huge swath of the country began to think its demise was fait accompli. Which is far from the truth, of course: House Republicans knew their vote was a media stunt from the beginning, as repeal was unlikely to pass in the Senate and President Obama's veto was guaranteed.
To be fair, the Affordable Care Act is a mammoth piece of legislation, and with some of the provisions in effect, but many on hold until 2014, it is difficult for nearly anyone to discern how the law could -- or already does -- benefit them, their neighbors, or the country.
That's why this Wednesday, March 23, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, we must do two things: reeducate ourselves about its benefits, and recommit to doing our own PR for the law.
Our grantees -- national and community-based organizations advocating for women's reproductive rights, health and justice -- will help us teach ourselves and others. On March 23, and into next week, several of them will host webinars and events across the US, share fact sheets [pdf] and other useful materials, and provide a platform for women to tell their stories about how health care reform is already producing meaningful results in their lives.
A year into this historic vote -- thanks to groups like the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Women's Law Center, and Raising Women's Voices, a coalition of which many of our grantees are core members -- we have even more information to make our case: Instead of simply discussing what the legislation could do, as we did before it became law, we can now discuss what it is doing -- the tangible difference it has made for women, families and communities to date.
And the stakes couldn't be higher. Amidst the haze of confusion produced by the Right's "job-killing" or deficit-swelling claims, conservative legislators continue to try to chip away at health care reform -- their most recent effort an attempt to deny federal funding for core components of the law. So while many apparently think "repeal" is a done deal, neither should we accept that "reform" is in the bag. Yes, the law is on the books. That is a tremendous victory. But as we celebrate on Wednesday, let's also work to be sure we'll be celebrating for years to come.