Missouri families with health insurance will be receiving a letter from their insurance company – much like the one above – detailing the many new preventive services going into effect related to women’s health. From well-women visits to 100%-covered preventive screenings for many diseases, this and other provisions of the Affordable Care Act are making a difference in the lives of women.
Statement of John R. Seffrin, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of the American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)
WASHINGTON – June 28, 2012 – “The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are critical to ensuring that people with cancer and other life-threatening chronic diseases can access quality, affordable health care.
“The ruling is a victory for people with cancer and their families nationwide, who for decades have been denied health coverage, charged far more than they can afford for lifesaving care and forced to spend their life savings on necessary treatment, simply because they have a pre-existing condition.
“The decision ensures that critical patient protections benefitting cancer patients and survivors will be implemented, such as those prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to people with a pre-existing condition, requiring insurers to provide consumers with easy-to-understand summaries about their coverage and requiring health plans in the individual market to offer essential benefits needed to prevent and treat a serious condition such as cancer.
“The ruling also preserves vital provisions that are already improving the ability of people with cancer and their families to access needed care by ensuring that proven preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies are offered at no cost to patients, eliminating arbitrary dollar limits on coverage that can suddenly terminate care and prohibiting insurance companies from unfairly revoking coverage when a person gets sick.
“The decision ensures that patients in every state will have access to an online marketplace where they can easily compare quality health plans and choose the one that is best for them and their families. The ruling also will sustain comprehensive nationwide efforts to refocus the health care system on disease prevention by encouraging people to get screened for cancer and other serious diseases and adopt healthier lifestyles.
“ACS CAN is reviewing the Court’s ruling on Medicaid, but we are concerned that the decision may limit the expansion of quality coverage to some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. We hope that ultimately, the decision will ensure access to quality health coverage through Medicaid for all low-income and disabled Americans with cancer or at risk for cancer. For many hard-working Americans who have lost their health insurance because they are too ill to work or who have exhausted their savings, Medicaid coverage will provide critical access to proven preventive services and lifesaving treatments.
“Access to care saves lives. Scientific research from the American Cancer Society has shown that people without health coverage are more likely than those with private insurance to be diagnosed with cancer at its more advanced stages and less likely to survive the disease.
“Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, it is time for all of our elected officials to work together in a bipartisan effort to implement the health care law as strongly as possible for cancer patients, survivors, and their families.”
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Steven Weiss or Alissa Crispino
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: (202) 661-5711 or (202) 661-5772
Email: Steve.Weiss@cancer.org or Alissa.Crispino@cancer.org
Missouri consumers are responding with gratitude and relief to today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a huge win for Missouri families, who have suffered too long under a system that made health care unaffordable, inaccessible, or insecure for too many of our neighbors,” said Rabbi Susan Talve, chair of Missouri Health Care for All. “We can now move forward with implementing the Affordable Care Act to build a better and fairer health care system for all Americans.”
Supporters of health reform will gather tonight at 5:30 pm at Vintage Vinyl to celebrate the Court’s ruling. St. Louis University professor Robert Gatter will be on hand to explain the ruling to attendees and several consumers will speak about how the ruling will impact them.
What: Health care supporters rally in support of the Supreme Court decision
When: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 5:30 pm
Where: Vintage Vinyl on the Delmar Loop: 6610 Delmar, 63130
Visuals: Health care supporters rally in support of the Court’s decision
Interviews: Robert Gatter, Co-Director, Center for Health Law Studies and Professor of Law, St. Louis University; Lew Prince, Owner, Vintage Vinyl; Missouri consumers impacted by the ruling; and Faith leaders
Bunnie Gronborg, a Festus resident who has struggled to obtain quality, affordable health insurance, described how today’s ruling will benefit her family. “Because the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, I am looking forward to a day when insurance companies can no longer discriminate against people with so-called ‘pre-existing conditions’ by denying them insurance, charging them more, or excluding coverage for those conditions.”
Affordable Care Act benefits currently helping Missourians include:
- The ability to keep young adults on parents’ insurance until they turn 26
- Tax credits for small businesses offering health insurance
- The gradual closing of the Medicare Part D “donut hole.”
- Free preventive care
Benefits taking effect within the next two years include:
- No more discrimination based on “pre-existing conditions” or gender
- Creation of health insurance marketplaces to provide better choices and clearer information to consumers
- Tax credit subsidies to help make insurance premiums affordable for moderate- and middle-income families
- Tens of millions of uninsured Americans will gain health insurance
Missouri advocates point out that elected officials have actively resisted implementing the new law in Missouri. Rabbi Talve says, “The highest court in the land has ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. It is time now to stop playing politics with health care. We urge our Missouri legislators and Governor to work together to implement the Affordable Care Act as quickly as possible in Missouri.”
Contact: Jen Bersdale, 314-651-6568, email@example.com
The Missouri Budget Project Responds to Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act
In an historic ruling today, the United States Supreme Court upheld the entirety of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or health reform) as constitutional. The Court ruled that while the Congress does not have the authority under the Commerce Clause to require purchase of insurance (commonly referred to as the individual mandate), this provision of the law can be implemented under Congress’ taxing authority.
The ruling has significant fiscal implications for Missouri. Under the ACA, Medicaid eligibility is expanded from current levels (approximately 19 percent) to 133 percent of the federal poverty level and extended beyond parents, seniors and people with disabilities to include all income eligible adults.
According to the Kaiser Foundation, the Medicaid expansion in Missouri will extend coverage to as many as 307,872 Missourians and will generate $8.395 billion in federal funds for the health care industry in Missouri over the first five years of implementation of the Medicaid expansion, beginning in 2014. Because the ACA provides 100 percent federal financing for the Medicaid expansion from 2014 through 2017, reducing to 90 percent federal financing by 2020 and beyond, the amount of funding required from the state is significantly reduced. To generate the estimated $8.395 billion as projected by Kaiser, Missouri will only need to invest $431 million in the first five years of implementation. In addition, Missouri’s net cost is likely to decrease as a result of the expanded coverage because the state should realize savings in uncompensated care over time.
The injection of federal financing will have significant impacts on the health care industry in the state as well as the economy in general. In addition to the Medicaid financing, new tax credits for individuals and small businesses intended to make access to health insurance more affordable will not only will bring new funding to Missouri, but will also allow those small businesses and individuals to utilize more of their incomes for other needs, including business expansion and individual purchasing, thereby generating further economic activity.
Although states have the option not to expand Medicaid coverage, it would make little economic sense for Missouri to forego this critical opportunity to boost the state’s economy. Now that the court has ruled, the Missouri Budget Project will begin fully assessing the economic impact and budgetary implications of its various components on Missouri. Stay tuned.
For more information contact one of the MBP staff:
Amy Blouin, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Traci Gleason, Director of Communications and Public Engagement, email@example.com
Jay Hardenbrook, Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Kruckemeyer, Chief Economist, email@example.com
The Mission of the Missouri Budget Project is: To advance public policies that improve economic opportunities for all Missourians ‒ particularly low and middle-income families ‒ by providing reliable and objective research, public education and advocacy. More information is available at: www.mobudget.org.
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Supreme Court ruling means we need to move forward and start on the hard but important work of making a health care system that works for all Missourians.
Jefferson City, MO. – In a landmark ruling that will impact the lives of every American, the United States Supreme Court today upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the federal law commonly known as health care reform. The court’s action affirms the legality of the ACA and paves the way for many upcoming provisions to go into effect.
The ACA was debated at length and passed by Congress in 2010. It was signed by President Obama in March of 2010 and has been providing benefits and expanding consumer protections for nearly two years.
“We applaud the court’s decision to uphold the vital consumer protections contained in the Affordable Care Act,” said Andrea Routh, Executive Director of the Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance. “Missouri families can live free of fear that their insurance company will terminate their coverage the minute they get sick. Parents will be able to purchase insurance for their children, regardless of any pre-existing conditions they may have. Insurers must continue to provide preventative services such as mammograms at no cost to Missouri women because of this decision.”
The ruling clears the way for policy makers to implement the many facets of the law.
“There is a lot of work to do and we can do it in a way that works for everyone involved,” Routh added. “Contrary to the rhetoric; millions of people will benefit from this law. I am confident as we move forward; today’s ruling will be looked at as a good thing for this country. ”
Missouri ACA facts:
- Ensures people have access to preventative services like mammograms and colonoscopies at no additional cost. This impacted more than 1 million Missourians with private health insurance in 2011.
- Protects families from being kicked off health insurance plans when a family-member gets sick.
- Bars insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits so people with cancer and chronic illness do not have to worry about going without treatment. In Missouri, more than 2 million residents are now free from worrying about lifetime limits on insurance coverage.
- Allows parents to keep children on their health insurance plans until they reach age 26. As of June, 2011, more than 39,600 young adults in our state gained coverage due to this provision of the ACA.
- Offers assistance to seniors on Medicare so they can afford their prescription drugs. In 2010, some 83,000 Missouri seniors got a $250 rebate and in 2011, over 78,500 Missouri seniors received a 50% discount on their prescriptions once they reached the “donut hole” in Medicare.
About the Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance:
The Alliance is a statewide non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to quality affordable health care for all. Since 2008, the Alliance has been working to build the consumer and community leadership required to transform the American health system. With the belief that this transformation will happen when consumers are fully engaged and have an organized voice, The Alliance works in partnership with national, state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations, providing leadership and support to change the health care system so it serves everyone – especially vulnerable members of society.
The Request for Applications (RFA) for Missouri Foundation for Health’s new Community Partnerships funding opportunity is now available on our website. Funding supports the use of effective strategies to promote community-level collaborations addressing either health care workforce shortages, transportation needs, health information systems or low health literacy. For this particular opportunity MFH funding should be used to formalize a collaboration, or enhance an existing collaboration’s capacity to improve or expand on past work.
MFH has allocated a total of $250,000 in 2012 to fund Community Partnerships projects in its service region. Depending on the populations of their target areas, applicants can request between $15,000 and $50,000 to cover costs of project activities. The anticipated start date for the Community Partnerships projects is November 2012. The application deadline is April 16. There is a pre-application conference call next Wednesday, March 28 at 10:00 am for those organizations interested in applying. To RSVP, contact Jenny Minelli at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application can be accessed by going to the Systems Development portion of our website and clicking on the Community Partnerships RFA located on the right hand side of the page. Kathleen Holmes, Program Director can be contacted with questions about the RFA at email@example.com or at 314-345-5572 .
Please feel free to share this information with organizations you believe would find it helpful.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2011
|Contact: HHS Press Office
Affordable Care Act Ensures Women Receive Preventive Services at No Additional Cost
Historic new guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services at no additional cost were announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Developed by the independent Institute of Medicine, the new guidelines require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.
“The Affordable Care Act helps stop health problems before they start,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need.”
Before health reform, too many Americans didn’t get the preventive health care they need to stay healthy, avoid or delay the onset of disease, lead productive lives, and reduce health care costs. Often because of cost, Americans used preventive services at about half the recommended rate.
Last summer, HHS released new insurance market rules under the Affordable Care Act requiring all new private health plans to cover several evidence-based preventive services like mammograms, colonoscopies, blood pressure checks, and childhood immunizations without charging a copayment, deductible or coinsurance. The Affordable Care Act also made recommended preventive services free for people on Medicare.
Today’s announcement builds on that progress by making sure women have access to a full range of recommended preventive services without cost sharing, including:
- well-woman visits;
- screening for gestational diabetes;
- human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 years and older;
- sexually-transmitted infection counseling;
- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and counseling;
- FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling;
- breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling; and
- domestic violence screening and counseling.
New health plans will need to include these services without cost sharing for insurance policies with plan years beginning on or after August 1, 2012. The rules governing coverage of preventive services which allow plans to use reasonable medical management to help define the nature of the covered service apply to women’s preventive services. Plans will retain the flexibility to control costs and promote efficient delivery of care by, for example, continuing to charge cost-sharing for branded drugs if a generic version is available and is just as effective and safe for the patient to use.
The administration also released an amendment to the prevention regulation that allows religious institutions that offer insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraception services. This regulation is modeled on the most common accommodation for churches available in the majority of the 28 states that already require insurance companies to cover contraception. HHS welcomes comment on this policy.
Previously, preventive services for women had been recommended one-by-one or as part of guidelines targeted at men as well. As such, the HHS directed the independent Institute of Medicine to, for the first time ever, conduct a scientific review and provide recommendations on specific preventive measures that meet women’s unique health needs and help keep women healthy. HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) used the IOM report issued July 19, when developing the guidelines that are being issued today. The IOM’s report relied on independent physicians, nurses, scientists, and other experts to make these determinations based on scientific evidence.
Today’s announcement is another part of the Obama Administration’s broader effort to address the health and well-being of our communities through initiatives such as the President’s Childhood Obesity Task Force, the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign, the National Quality Strategy, and the National Prevention Strategy.
For more information on the HHS guidelines for expanding women’s preventive services, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/womensprevention08012011a.html. The guidelines can be found at: www.hrsa.gov/womensguidelines/.
To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, please visit www.healthcare.gov.