The United States Supreme Court today announced its ruling to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform applauds the decision to uphold the law so that the progress we have already made in realizing a healthier, stronger America will continue. The law expands coverage to the almost 50 million Americans who are currently without insurance, even as it protects families that are already insured.
The ACA’s historic effect has already been felt in Maryland. By 2011, almost 52,000 young adults were able to gain health care coverage under their parents’ policies; 52,200 seniors were getting help paying for their prescription drugs; 112,500 small businesses were providing health insurance to their employees; and 1,153,000 thousand Marylanders with private insurance were accessing preventive care coverage with no co-pays or deductibles.
Families now have greater health and financial security. Robyn knows that she doesn’t have to worry about lifetime limits for her son, who was born with a genetic disorder. Alycia knows that her daughter, who was diagnosed with leukemia at age two, can’t be denied insurance in the future because of a pre-existing condition. Lil knows that she will be able to get the mammograms she needs without any co-pays or deductibles. Nicole’s family is secure knowing that she and her sister can remain on their health insurance policy. And, thanks to the ACA, Lesa can provide in-home care to Eddie, who needs her help to take care of his most basic needs. As women, we now know that we can no longer be denied health care coverage or charged higher premiums just because of our gender.
Under the leadership of the O’Malley Administration, Maryland has a strong tradition of expanding access to care, building an effective public health system, and supporting safety net providers to serve the uninsured. Exciting innovations are taking place in the health care system to improve care and bring down costs. New strategies are being implemented to address disparities in health for racial and ethnic minorities. And efforts are underway to implement key elements of the ACA, including the Health Benefit Exchange. Approximately 350,000 Marylanders will go to this “insurance marketplace” to get affordable insurance that will meet their health care needs. The result will be a state where each of us can lead healthy and productive lives.
The Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform, a statewide alliance of hundreds of individuals and 83 organizations, will continue its work with the Administration and our partners across the state. We will analyze the Supreme Court’s decision and determine its impact on our current efforts. At the same time, to quote the Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, “we will not slow down, we will not delay.”