National Council on Disability Applauds Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act

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The National Council on Disability applauds the United States Supreme Court’s decision to affirm the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a victory for Americans with disabilities. On Thursday June 28, the court voted 5-4 to uphold the constitutionality of the individual mandate provisions of the ACA. 
“For millions of Americans with disabilities who rely on home and community based services to live, learn and earn in America, the ruling today by the Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act is arguably the most significant decision since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act twenty-two years ago,” said Jonathan Young, NCD Chairman. “By affirming provisions that ensure private insurers will have access to a much larger pool of enrollees, insurance costs will be diminished and health care coverage can no longer be denied to over 30 million uninsured Americans who, to date, have been excluded from the current system.”
“Under the ACA, Americans with disabilities have gained increased access to long-term home and community-based services which supports liberty, expands choice and gives Americans with disabilities more opportunities to live independently,” added Aaron Bishop, NCD’s Executive Director. “Choosing between much needed medicine or treatments and paying rent or eating is no choice at all. Thankfully, with the affirmation of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans with disabilities will no longer be forced to make those kinds of unfair decisions.”
As detailed in NCD’s 2009 report “The Current State of Health Care for People with Disabilities,” Americans with disabilities face significant barriers to health care and frequently lack health insurance or coverage for necessary services. The Affordable Care Act expands options for people with disabilities to access health insurance and corrects much of the imbalance.
Under the Affordable Care Act, 105 million Americans – including Americans with disabilities – will no longer have lifetime dollar limits placed on their health coverage.  In addition, more than 17.6 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied care. Lastly, the Affordable Care Act makes Medicare stronger for nearly 50 million older Americans and Americans with disabilities who rely on Medicare by adding benefits, reducing fraud, improving rehabilitation options, increasing mental health and substance abuse services, implementing previously denied preventive care and chronic disease management, and allowing young adults – including those with disabilities and chronic conditions – to stay on their parents’ insurance plans up to age 26 even if they do not live with their parents or graduate from school. 
NCD remains concerned how the Supreme Court decision will alter Medicaid coverage. It is feared some states may decide not to cover low-income, single adults with disabilities who are not parents. States may also elect to expand Medicaid in exchange for additional federal funding, which would conceivably benefit millions more low-income adults with disabilities. It is not yet clear how this will play out from state to state. 
About the National Council on Disability: NCD is an independent federal agency comprised of 15 Presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed Council Members and a small staff, who advise the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy, programs, practices, and procedures. 
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