Every non-profit or academic institution focused on aging in America (e.g. AARP, Older Women’s League, American Society on Aging, etc.) supports the American Care Act. It’s great news that the Supreme Court ruled the law was constitutional. With this ruling, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage, or charge more because of a pre-existing condition, or force women to pay higher premiums than men. Preventive care will continue to be covered at no cost, and seniors will continue to save money on prescription drugs (5.3 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries have already saved $3.7 billion on prescriptions since the law was enacted).
The ACA is a major step toward ensuring affordable and quality health coverage for millions of working families, elders, and children. Therefore, it is surprising to me that many Americans don’t believe the ACA will help them. A Kaiser Family Foundation report found that people believe young adults and children are likely to benefit from the new law, but not themselves or their families. Thirty-seven percent of respondents felt the law will make no difference in their lives, thirty-one percent felt they will be worse off.
Where are these answers coming from? Is it that a case being brought to the Supreme Court is enough to reduced people’s opinions of the law? Who are the individuals against the ACA…do they understand the implications for American’s health system and the American people’s well-being?
The ACA is in no way perfect, but many of the laws are designed specifically to help older people acquire and pay for comprehensive health care. An AARP article lists the number of ways the law supports older adults:
- Insurance companies cannot drop you if you become sick or disabled
- They cannot have lifetime dollar limits on your coverage
- Medicare recipients receive annual wellness visits, preventive services, and immunizations at no additional cost
- As mentioned, people with Medicare Part D now receive discounts on prescription drugs while in the doughnut hole. The Part D discounts will gradually increase until 2020, when the doughnut hole will close
- In 2014, insurers can no longer deny coverage if you have a preexisting condition
- In 2014, insurance “exchanges” will provide better access and options to self-employed people, small businesses and others who are unable to find affordable coverage
The Supreme Court’s decision is a significant move in the right direction. It will help the United States build a health care plan for our future that is on par with what other developed nations provide already: Affordable health care coverage as a right, not a privilege.