Obamacare is here to stay. Now what?

The U.S. Supreme Court did something right. In a 7-2 decision on Thursday, it shot down an ill-advised lawsuit from Republicans that sought to kill the Affordable Care Act. The winners are 23 million Americans – including more than 800,000 in New Jersey – who wouldn’t have healthcare without Obamacare. Now they can go about their lives in peace.

The losers who brought this flimsy case, including the Trump administration and the attorneys general for 20 states, did so despite the fact that the actual contents of the law are very popular: Protecting people with pre-existing conditions like cancer or diabetes from being priced out of health coverage, for instance, or taxing the rich to pay for subsidies that help low-income people afford a plan. No matter. Republicans still tried to kill this law in countless ways over the last decade, turning it into a political crusade.

First, their strategy was “repeal and replace,” then “repeal and run” – eliminating the law without any replacement plan. They tried to do this with legislation, but were defeated by a single vote in the Senate, cast by John McCain. Then they turned to sabotage; slashing funding for outreach to encourage enrollment, diverting that money to anti-Obamacare propaganda, and opening the market to junk plans with giant coverage gaps. Finally, they tried to gut the law in court.

Now they’ve failed, once and for all. So what’s next?

Time to focus on expanding, rather than just defending health coverage. Start with the law’s expansion of Medicaid: Twelve states still don’t participate, so millions of poor Americans can’t get health insurance. Missouri’s governor is even blocking an expansion that was approved by voters. There’s also a sensible proposal to expand the Medicare program to cover vision, dental and hearing. The biggest thing is adding a public option to the Obamacare exchanges, allowing people to consider a government plan like Medicare in competition with private plans.

Let’s not forget the tens of millions of people still without insurance in America, and the seniors who still can’t afford to get their teeth fixed, or get a hearing aid or eyeglasses, and are suffering in poverty. There’s more work to do.

Father’s Day 2021: Dads and their loved ones tell us what this year has meant to them

This Father’s Day, ask a dad how his year — a year of parenting in a pandemic — has been. That’s what we did.

This year has brought on new, unimaginable challenges for families and many fathers’ roles changed drastically, whether they were working multiple jobs to make ends meet or working from home while helping kids with remote school.

Other countless fathers, some with their own adult children, weren’t able to see their families for many months, and many families lost patriarchal figures due to COVID-19.

We asked dads — and their loved ones — to tell us what this year has been like and what being a father has meant to them.

Here’s what some of them had to say:
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Parag Vapiwala and his son

I’ve told many people that one of my worries in life was to not be able to actually see and experience my child grow up. The pandemic came and corrected the course. As unusual as it sounds, the pandemic is the most devastating thing that has happened for millions of people, but it was one of the most fortunate for me. I feel selfish knowing the tragedy and loss that so many have faced, but it allowed me to see my son grow up. I truly feel that I was able to experience so much more with my son every day. For that I am grateful, and I am one of the few who was positively affected. I wish the best for all my friends, family and the world, and I hope the tides are shifting in the world’s favor. — Parag Vapiwala, South Plainfield
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Scott Jacobson

My husband has been super dad this year. Since early May 2020 he’s been home with our family every day. Waking up early with the kids, walking down to the basement for work, coming up for dinner and bedtime and finishing his night doing the dishes. While I know he has lost a lot of his “me time” which could not have been easy, he has not once complained. In fact, he has said on multiple occasions that this year has been a gift because he has seen our kids grow and develop right in front of his eyes. My boys and I are very lucky to have him! — Alyssa Jacobson, Oradell
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Jackie Quinones and her father Ismael

My father Ismael also known as Lito Is someone who places others before himself!! Always!! He is loving, caring, compassionate, a leader and a fighter!! Being an EMT he helped me achieve my goals of helping others as well as me taking care of him!! He is my superman. He is my leader. My dad is a dad who motivates me and keeps me going, even when I want to give up. He is there for me when I don’t want to try anymore and he always keeps me going and now it is my turn to help him fight this battle dad you are not alone. Love You. — Jackie Quinones, Paterson

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