On March 26, 2012, the United States Supreme Court began hearing arguments contesting the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and today on June 28th, the Supreme Court announced its decision. In a 5-4 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts authored an opinion, which was joined by Justices Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor and Ginsburg, that upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate because it is a tax. The Supreme Court further decided that the Medicaid expansion is constitutional, but that the federal government cannot withhold existing Medicaid funding for states as punishment for states that do not comply with the expansion requirements.
While the law isn't perfect, thousands of individuals with bleeding disorders currently benefit from the patient protections included in the law, such as the elimination of lifetime limits on benefits, extension of dependent coverage to age 26 and elimination of pre-existing conditions exclusions for children. Even more people will benefit as additional reforms are implemented in the future, such as the creation of the exchanges. One cause for caution is that states may not expand Medicaid eligibility as a result of the decision, potentially creating an additional barrier for individuals to access health insurance. As implementation moves forward in 2014 and beyond, NHF will continue its work to ensure that individuals with bleeding disorders have access to all appropriate therapies and healthcare providers.
Read the Supreme Court decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.