Disability Scoop (July 2, 2012)- Advocates are hailing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold sweeping changes to the nation’s health care system as a victory for people with disabilities.
The high court ruled Thursday that the nearly all of the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, paving the way for additional provisions of the 2010 law to take effect between now and 2014.
As Democrats applauded the decision, Republicans promptly vowed to repeal the act. Meanwhile, leaders from a host of national organizations representing individuals with developmental disabilities praised the decision.
“People with disabilities and their families have their lives dictated by the status of their health insurance,” said Katy Neas, senior vice president of government relations at Easter Seals. “The Supreme Court’s ruling today tells these families they can make decisions about what is best for them as a family, and not be controlled by fear of losing health insurance coverage.”
President Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, the health care reform law includes a number of provisions — many of which have yet to be fully implemented — that advocates say are significant for people with disabilities including:
• No more lifetime coverage limits on health insurance plans.
• Insurers will not be allowed to charge higher rates or deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, including disabilities.
• Establishes the Community First Choice Option offering states the opportunity to receive increased federal matching funds to support community living.
• Requires health insurance plans to cover a menu of “essential benefits” including mental health services, habilitation and rehabilitation services as well as behavioral health treatment.