The Supreme Court is to be commended for its ruling last week on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and its ability to set aside politics and rule for the good of the people.
Everyone wants the security of knowing they can see a doctor when they are ill or get medications or treatments that they need. The Supreme Court ruling affirms this security by upholding the Affordable Care Act – allowing implementation to proceed.
The issues Congress sought to address in this law – rising healthcare costs for individuals and businesses, the inability of individuals to obtain affordable, quality coverage, a broken healthcare delivery system and abuses by the insurance industry can now continue to be addressed without the cloud that has been hanging over all of our heads.
Consumer protections, so important to all of us but particularly those with pre-existing conditions or other health issues, have been affirmed under this ruling. Required justification of insurance company premium increases as well as a new mechanism for consumers to disagree with insurance decisions will go forward.
The Affordable Care Act, a century in the making, will provide health security as well as access to affordable, quality healthcare for all Americans if fully implemented.
The Supreme Court ruling gives states the option to expand Medicaid to 133% of poverty. Several GOP governors have said they will not or may not expand Medicaid to uninsured low-income people. There’s hope in our state. A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder said Monday that the administration is studying the issue.
It’s imperative that Michigan policymakers proceed with the Medicaid expansion, as called for in the law, which would provide comprehensive coverage to more than 500,000 low-income individuals and parents, many of whom are working but not earning enough to purchase coverage from their employers or privately. It would also bring hundreds of millions of federal dollars into the state to provide needed healthcare services, create jobs and generate economic stimulus.
With this ruling:
- Young adults will be able to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26. (Three companies — UnitedHealth Group, Humana, Aetna — already announced their intent to continue this coverage regardless of the court ruling.)
- Children with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, will continue to be eligible for coverage without fear of denial or cancellation.
- Preventive services will continue to be available without co-pays or deductibles.
- Higher premiums charged to women, simply because they are women, will not be continued.
- The donut hole for those on Medicare will continue closing, rather than growing larger.
- Insurers will be required to pay rebates if they do not spend 80 cents of premium dollars collected on healthcare benefits and quality improvements. The first rebates will be issued this August. Michigan residents are expected to receive about $14 M in rebates.
- Those individuals with pre-existing conditions currently receiving benefits though the HIP Michigan program will be able to continue their coverage and treatments.
- There will be no more lifetime or annual caps.
- Implementation of competitive health insurance marketplace (MI Health Marketplace) to shop for affordable, quality coverage can now finally move forward.
Now that the clouds have been lifted and the sun is shining, it’s time to get to work to fully implement the Affordable Care Act.
— Jan Hudson