Supreme Court upholds health reform; more Americans will now have coverage

Supreme Court upholds health reform; more Americans will now have coverage

Supreme Court upholds health reform; more Americans will now have coverage


This morning’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold the Affordable Care Act signals an enormous victory for children and families in Arkansas and everywhere in the country. The ruling affirms the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as the law of the land, including the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a tax. This ruling ensures that almost half a million uninsured Arkansans will have access to affordable, quality health coverage.

The Affordable Care Act has already put protections in place to guarantee children have access to the care they need to grow up healthy.  Because of the ACA, children with asthma, diabetes, or other pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage or have lifetime limits on care.  Women can’t be charged higher premiums because of their gender.  Already, 64 percent of Arkansas children have maintained or improved their access to affordable preventive services, and almost 23,000 young adults in Arkansas have been able to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they turn 26 years old.

The ACA also expands Medicaid coverage to adults up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.  This could affect about 200,000 adults, 80,000 of whom are parents of children who have ARKids First. It appears that the ruling limits the federal government’s ability to regulate the state’s Medicaid expansion.  We will continue to analyze the impact of these limitations in coming days.

The ACA offers additional protections for consumers that will go into place in 2014. Foster care youth up to age 25 will be able to access Medicaid coverage, ensuring they start adulthood healthy, and families and individuals up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for subsidies to purchase affordable coverage through the health insurance exchange.

We need to continue the work we have already begun in Arkansas, setting a foundation for the full implementation of the law in the next 18 months. While the state legislature failed to pass legislation that would allow Arkansas to have a state-run exchange, we have the opportunity to make sure state leaders can influence how our federally-facilitated exchange operates. This new marketplace provides low-cost options for Arkansans currently living without health coverage.

As we process this decision further, we will work with our partners to bring you up-to-date information about the Affordable Care Act. We are excited to work with all stakeholders to help implement the coming changes in Arkansas. By working together, everyone has a better chance to access the health care coverage we all need.


Rich Huddleston, Executive Director

Anna Strong, Health Policy Director