June 26, 2012

June 26, 2012
Affordable Care Act Law Supreme Court Opinion


Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It is another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

Today I would like to blog about a very important issue: the Affordable Care Act Law Supreme Court opinion. You may wish to convey to circulate the below information widely. The Supreme Court Decicision on the ACA will be release this coming Thursday. Given the potential impacts on the HIV/Community you may find the suggested talking points (attached Courtesy HIV Health Care Access Working Group) and also pasted in below) useful in any public statements that you may wish to make. Please circulate through your networks.

Community Action Alert

Action: The Supreme Court will issue its opinion on the Affordable Care Act Law this week and it could be as early as today. While we want the Court to rule in favor of the law, no matter what the outcome it is very important that all of our organizations and affiliates issue their respective opinions concerning the impact of the Courts decision our communities. Use all forms of media from standard to social media, personal impact stories, press releases, statements, op-eds, FaceBook, on and on. It is absolutely essential that we get the word out.

Implications of the Supreme Court’s Decision for People with HIV

June 2012

The Supreme Court is expected to release its long awaited ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care on Thursday, June 28th. The ruling could go in many different directions from upholding the entire law to striking down the requirement that individuals purchase insurance (or individual mandate) to striking down the Medicaid expansion to striking down the entire law. Unless they uphold or strike down the entire law – it will be some time before we know the full ramifications of the ruling. This paper provides a very preliminary and general assessment of different scenarios and how they may have affect people with HIV.

IF THE AFFORDALE CARE ACT IS UPHELD

· Upholding the Affordable Care Act is a major victory for people with HIV and countless others who have been shut out of the current health care coverage system. The ruling removes a major roadblock to ending AIDS in America.

· Recognizing the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land will give people living with HIV the security and access to health coverage that they need to seek and maintain continuous care, without worry of interruptions in their medical care caused by a lack of health coverage or an inability to pay.

· Health reform implementation must proceed full steam ahead. Congress should acknowledge that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land by fully funding health reform and end efforts to repeal it. Politics must not jeopardize

· Education and outreach on what the Affordable Care Act does and does NOT do must occur on a much wider scale across the country so that Americans have accurate information about the law and how it will benefit them.

IF THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE IS STRUCK DOWN BUT THE MEDICAID EXPANSION UPHELD

· An important barrier to ending AIDS — lack of access to Medicaid coverage for poor people until they are sick and disabled — will be overcome. But many people with HIV will still not have access to affordable private insurance coverage leaving mean lower and middle income individuals with few or no coverage options.

· Even if insurers voluntarily elect to continue to some of the protections, such as covering individuals with pre-existing conditions and not terminating coverage when someone gets sick – the cost of the coverage will likely be out of reach for many people with HIV others. The individual mandate is needed to bring everyone into the insurance market so that coverage is affordable for everyone and there when you need it the most.

· Expanding Medicaid to very low-income people will address a significant injustice. Across America, low-income people have relied on a failing system of emergency rooms and free clinics to get medical care for a life-threatening disease. The Medicaid expansion will mean that people with HIV will have reliable access to HIV care and treatment as well as medical care for all of their conditions, from diabetes to mental health to cancer.

· The Ryan White Program provides health care and medications to low-income people with HIV. The program will be needed now more than ever to provide lifesaving care and treatment to the many people with HIV that will continue to be left uninsured and to fill in the gaps in Medicaid-covered services.

CALL TO ACTION IF VARIOUS COMPONENTS ARE STRUCK DOWN

· Congress must immediately work with the Administration to address the areas the Supreme Court found deficient and to rebuild the health law. We must not give up on having a true “health care system” rather than a “sick care system.”

· If the individual mandate is struck down, Congress and the Administration must consider other options for enacting the critical consumer protections offered by the Affordable Care Act in a way that makes health coverage affordable to those who need it the most.

· Implementation and funding of the state-based exchanges should continue to the fullest extent possible to provide affordable coverage options for underinsured and uninsured individuals.

· In the meantime, Congress should increase funding for the highly successful Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans and additional steps such as passing the Early Treatment for HIV Act and fully funding the Ryan White Program.

· The November elections will determine the future of national health care reform. Voters will need to educate themselves on the candidates’ positions on national health reform to determine if their plans will fill providing meaningful and affordable access to comprehensive insurance coverage.

· President Obama and presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney must offer real plans for ensuring that the nearly 50 million uninsured Americans including many people with HIV have meaningful access to affordable health coverage to help voters determine where they stand.

· State legislatures should follow in the footsteps of Massachusetts and California to enact state-level reforms that can dramatically expand access to private health insurance and support healthier and more productive communities.

WHY THE RULING IS SO IMPORTANT TO PEOPLE WITH HIV

· An estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S. who need access to high-quality, uninterrupted health care to stay healthy, reduce new HIV infections, and cut long-term health care costs.

· We now have the tools to effectively treat HIV disease and to made significant headway against HIV in the U.S. Research clearly shows that with early access to HIV treatment people with HIV stay healthier and are 96% less likely to transmit HIV to their partners. HIV treatment is now recommended for all individuals with HIV infection regardless of clinical indicators.

· National health care reform will put us on the road to an AIDS-free generation by dramatically expanding access to medical care and life-saving HIV medications.

· Today, staggering numbers of people with HIV are unable to access regular medical care, including antiretroviral medications that can let them live near-normal lives and reduce their viral load.

· According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just half of people who know they have HIV are receiving regular medical care, and only one-quarter are being successfully treated for HIV with medications.[1][1]

· The failings of the current health care system contribute to staggering health disparities. African Americans account for 13% of the population but 46% of people living with HIV, and 64% of all women with HIV are African American. Gay men represent 2% of the general population but 53% of new infections.[2][2]

· The Affordable Care Act would address the failings of the current health system for people with HIV by expanding Medicaid to all low-income people, creating open, competitive online marketplaces for others to purchase private insurance and providing subsidies for lower income individuals to purchase insurance.

FOR MORE INFORMATION William E. Arnold

National ADAP Working Group
1901 18th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009

(202) 290-2019

Now you know the rest of the story and I hope you will help out.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,



Daddy Dab