WASHINGTON - June 28, 2012 - Millions of Americans can breathe a sigh of relief now that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) has survived a Supreme Court challenge. The landmark decision green-lights plans to expand coverage to 32 million Americans and ends the worst insurance company abuses, including discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions.
Under the law, insurance companies can no longer deny care to children with pre-existing conditions, and all children will continue to have access to cost-free pediatric care. The law also protects young adults by allowing them to stay on their parent’s health insurance until age 26.
“Children are the big winners in today’s decision,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “The Supreme Court has ensured that we will never go back to a time when insurance company profits are more important than the health and well-being of our nation’s youngest, most vulnerable citizens.
“Before Obama’s ACA, too many young people were uninsured and had their lives and education interrupted by insurmountable medical bills and crippling debt,” said Van Roekel. “I know that most parents, like me, are relieved that our children can now begin their adult lives without living in fear that a single illness will derail their future and their success.”
In 2011, as many as 72,000 uninsured children received health care coverage based on this provision in the law. An estimated 3.1 million young adults, ages 19 to 25, were able to enroll in their parents’ health insurance plans thanks to the law.
“We are definitely celebrating this decision,” said Van Roekel. “NEA members know how a child’s education can be affected by illness or lack of regular medical or dental care. We worked closely with the Obama Administration to make sure this law passed, so that tens of thousands of families could no longer be denied insurance."
For an NEA fact sheet on the Affordable Care Act, please click here.
In affirming the legitimacy of the Affordable Care Act on June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court also affirmed the legitimacy of our form of democracy and the rule of law, AFT president Randi Weingarten says.
"Opinions of the Supreme Court are not abstract rulings; they have real and lasting effects upon the lives of everyday Americans," she says. "Access to affordable healthcare is an essential building block to rebuilding and expanding the middle class and a lifeline to those who have no access to healthcare right now. The Affordable Care Act will continue to make that a reality for millions of Americans.
"At a time when so many Americans are struggling to get by and students continue to graduate from college with a mountain of debt and few job prospects, this law puts healthcare within reach for working families, keeps our communities healthier, and ensures that Americans can get the treatment they need, when they need it, without battling big insurance companies. Striking down healthcare reform would have dealt a devastating blow to our recovering economy. Affordable healthcare should not be a luxury for a few, but a promise to all.
"We need to work together to build upon the success of the Affordable Care Act, not prolong partisan attempts to tear it apart. We can't afford to deny families the healthcare they need."
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