Archive for June, 2012

Champions for Medicare Beneficiaries Applaud Supreme Court Ruling

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a landmark decision upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The individual mandate, in addition to other provisions – including those that enhance Medicare – was ruled constitutional.

“This ruling is good news for people with Medicare, the Medicare program, and the millions of families who could not otherwise afford health care coverage,” said Judith Stein, Executive Director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

The law can now continue to help older and disabled Americans, children with special needs, people with pre-existing conditions, women, young adults, and small businesses. In just two years, the law has already saved over $3 billion in Medicare prescription drug costs for older and disabled Americans, put $1.1 billion in rebates back in the pockets of 12.8 million consumers, and allowed over 3 million young adults to retain access to health coverage on their parents’ plans.

“Having advocated for people with Medicare for over 25 years, the Center for Medicare Advocacy is in the unique position of having seen a program that was initially doubted, even feared, come to be a beloved American value,” said Ms. Stein. “We have no doubt that health care reform will follow the same path as families benefit from it.”

The Center for Medicare Advocacy thanks the Supreme Court for advancing affordable health care for all Americans.

June 28, 2012 at 5:55 pm Leave a comment

We All Lose – If The Supreme Court Strikes Down Health Reform

Millions of people will be left with limited or no access to health care if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is overturned. This will include people of all ages − older and disabled people with Medicare, middle class families, children with asthma and other pre-existing conditions, and adults with on-going medical needs. At this time, when family incomes are stretched to the max, many people are unemployed, and fewer jobs provide health insurance, individuals and families all over the country will lose if the Court strikes down Health Care Reform.

Older and disabled people with Medicare will lose access to preventive health care, help paying for life-saving medications, and an annual health visit. Taxpayers will resume overpayments to private Medicare plans. Children with preexisting conditions will again be subject to discrimination by private health insurance companies. People who would have gained access to coverage under ACA, beginning in 2014, will lose out. This includes adults with pre-existing conditions, those with high out-of-pocket costs, and families with moderate incomes. Young adults who, thanks to ACA, have health coverage under their parents’ plans will also be in jeopardy.

In short, if the Court strikes down the law we all lose. The number of people with inadequate or no health insurance will rise – but those same people will still get sick and injured, and require care. And we will all pay, in emergency rooms, unpaid hospital bills, higher premiums – or simply by catching their illnesses.

Let’s hope the Supreme Court recognizes the national interest in making basic health insurance available to all. If it does, we will all feel better.

June 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm Leave a comment

Cut Through the Rhetoric: Questions to Ask After the Supreme Court ACA Decision

Originally Published at Nieman Watchdog, in ASK THIS, June 14, 2012 (available at http://niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=ask_this.view&askthisid=00569), we offer reporters and editors a checklist for stories when the Supreme Court rules on the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

1. Did the Court strike down (or uphold) the entire law?

2. If the entire law is struck down:
  • What will happen to the Medicare Part D Donut Hole coverage, preventive benefit coverage improvements, Part D income-based premiums?
  • Will young adults receiving coverage up to age 26 on their parents’ plans immediately lose their coverage? Will they be able to get coverage elsewhere?
  • Will children with pre-existing conditions lose their coverage? If so, how will they get coverage in the future?
  • What will happen in states that have started to implement the law, for example by setting up “exchanges”? Will some states try to proceed without ACA?
  • What will happen to those who would have been covered by the Medicaid enhancements under the law?
3. Did the Court decide some components are “severable,” (able to proceed although other components of the law are invalid)?
  • If so, what was struck down?
  • What is left?
4. If the individual mandate is struck down (the requirement that people maintain minimum coverage or pay into the system), what does that mean for health care reform?
  • Can the law still work without this requirement?
  • Can the law be amended to make it work, without a minimum coverage mandate?
5. If the law is struck down in whole or part:
  • What demographic groups will be most harmed?
  • What will be the effect on costs to the federal government, states, and individuals?

Unless the entire law is upheld, people in need of health care will lose. Be ready to recognize what will be lost – and by whom.

June 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm Leave a comment


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Judith A. Stein, Executive Director

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