Dear Parkinson’s Disease Community,
As you no doubt already know, today the United States Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with a limited exception regarding the Medicaid program. The decision was 5-4, with the majority opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts. For those who have been following the debate about the constitutionality of the ACA, it is extremely interesting that the Supreme Court ruling clearly states the authority to support the "individual mandate" does not come from the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, but rather from Congressional taxing power.
While the Court's interpretation of the Commerce Clause and legislative taxing power are significant for future decisions, in terms of immediate impact PAN celebrates today's decision because it supports the fundamental goal of access to quality health care for all in our community. For the last three years, PAN has been clear that we support the provisions of the ACA that guarantee health care coverage for all regardless of pre-existing conditions, eliminate lifetime and annual caps on health insurance benefits, and phase out the Medicare prescription drug coverage doughnut hole. In addition, PAN has been an active voice in the implementation of ACA health-care reform programs, particularly in the areas of Medicare and patient-centered research. These programs deserve our attention because, once fully implemented, they could significantly impact care received by those on Medicare and those who have private-payer insurance.
Since the law's passage, the portion of the ACA that defines what is minimally acceptable health insurance for covered plans has shifted to the individual states to implement. PAN advocates have been active voices on this issue of "essential health benefits." We hope you will work with us as we continue to advocate for access to affordable, quality health care for those with Parkinson's disease as well as other serious health conditions, without supporting the partisan nature of this issue. I hope you will support this effort with us.
Thank you for all that you do.
Amy Comstock Rick