Today’s ruling by the US Supreme Court that the majority of the Patients Protection and Affordable Care Act is constitutional is a tremendous victory for the American public. When the expansion in access to quality and affordable healthcare for over 30 million Americans becomes fully implemented in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will mark the first substantial reform of the country’s health care system since Medicare in 1965.
“We must thank President Obama and the members of Congress for their commitment to improving access to care and reducing healthcare costs for the millions of children, young adults, and underserved individuals and families who will benefit from this landmark law,” said Special Needs Network President & Co-Founder Areva Martin, Esq.
With the highest percentage of medically uninsured people of any major metropolitan area in the nation, Los Angeles County currently has an estimated population of 2.2 million uninsured individuals. By 2014, over 80% of these individuals will gain access to healthcare coverage through Medi-Cal, contingent on the state’s participation in the Medicaid expansion component of the legislation, which will extend Medicaid to individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty line.
The Affordable Care Act guarantees that the nation’s most vulnerable population will have access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare coverage.
With autism as the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, affecting one in every 88 children (and 1 in 54 boys), mental health conditions currently account for a major portion of pre-existing conditions. The Affordable Care Act will ensure that every child and adult living with a pre-existing health condition –such as autism and other developmental and mental health issues – will be protected by the law by 2014.
“This law will provide much needed assistance to the millions of minority families affected by developmental disabilities that face daily health struggles in the face of poverty,” said Martin.
Behavioral health treatment is listed in the Affordable Care Act as one of 10 “essential health benefits” required by each state to adopt, which will ensure coverage for autism therapies such as Applied Behavior Analysis, as well as other forms of treatment such as prescription drugs, and habilitative and wellness services for those in need.
The expanded access to healthcare for underserved families and the end to discrimination against pre-existing conditions represent an enormous step forward in improving health outcomes for those most vulnerable among us. However, it is only the first step in a long journey – not the end of the conversation. Come November, millions will be spent by the opposition in the interest of repealing this law.
We must stand together and ensure that our rights to health services are protected and that the poor will not be left out in the cold.