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TODAY IS A VICTORY FOR THE UNINSURED, THE DISABLED, AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

June 28, 2012

Today the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the controversial Affordable Care Act ("ACA") also referred to as "Obamacare." In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court justices upheld the majority of the law. Today was a good day for uninsured Americans. Today was also a good day for Americans with disabilities.
Persons with disabilities will benefit from the ACA because it:

  • Eliminates the pre-existing medical conditions exclusion

  • Prevents plans from dropping insureds from coverage due to their deteriorating health

  • Eliminates lifetime spending caps on coverage

  • Provides funding support to the disabled who want to live outside institutional settings by supporting community and home-based care services

  • Enhances health care delivery by providing better access to preventative care

  • Today was a good day for those with disabilities who have been shut out of the health plan marketplace due to their chronic and serious health conditions. Also, the disabled who have been unsuccessful in procuring Social Security Disability benefits and the attendant Medicare/Medicaid coverage were effectively uninsured, leaving them to seek treatment for disabling conditions through Emergency Room visits or Community Health centers. Specialized care was often out of reach.

    Even for those beneficiaries receiving Medicaid, today was also a good day. Now that Medicaid benefits are not the sole safety net, Medicaid beneficiaries may now choose to pursue employment or increased employment hours. Without a safety net, a disabled person often had to choose between working more and losing access to Medicaid healthcare benefits - particularly since working hours did not always ensure healthcare benefits.

    Georgia has about 2 million uninsured residents. Approximately 20 percent of Georgia residents are uninsured for healthcare. This percentage places Georgia in the top ten of states for uninsured residents. Today's decision protects more Georgia residents from the devastating effects of no access to healthcare. And I for one, am doing the Happy Dance!