Let there be no mistake about the benefits which will be derived from signing up for the Affordable Care Act.

I now have firsthand knowledge of the positive results of those who have signed up for this wonderful coverage. I attended the sign-up gathering with the expert advice coming from the ACA brokers during the health coverage workshop held at the American Legion Hut on Dec. 16. I saw action in the town of St. Stephen. Many of these individuals were under the age of 65 and worked most of their lives as part-time workers.

I was amazed at the conclusion of their interviews to see the expression on their faces when they were told that rather than paying $600 or $700 a month for insurance coverage, they were now fully covered for the total amount per month, depending on their individual income of anywhere from $33 per month to $64. This went on for the next hour as people continued to sign up for the ACA coverage.

First of all, be clear that the Affordable Care Act is now the law. The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act ensures that hard-working, middle-class families will get the security they deserve. It will protect every South Carolinian from the worst insurance company abuses.

Here's what the ruling means for the middle class:

Insurance companies no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your coverage, or charge women more than men.

Soon, no South Carolinian will ever again be denied care due to a pre-existing condition, like cancer or even asthma.

Preventive care will still be covered free of charge by insurance companies - including mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors.

Many seniors will continue to save $600 a year on their prescription drugs.

Efforts to strengthen and protect Medicare by cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse will remain in place.

Millions of young adults will still be able to stay on their family's plan until they're 26.

A major impact of the court's decision here in South Carolina is the 700,000 plus people who are uninsured, some with pre-existing conditions, will have the security of the Affordable Health Coverage.

Under the ruling, having health insurance is and will continue to be a choice. But only the ill-advised as well as the uninformed will be left out. If you can't afford insurance or you're a small business that wants to provide affordable insurance to your employees, you'll get tax credits that will make coverage affordable.

But if you can afford insurance and you choose not to purchase it, the taxpayers will no longer subsidize your care for free.

REP. Joseph H. Jefferson Jr.

District 102

Berkeley and Dorchester counties

Colonel Maham Drive