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Effects – Elderly/Disabled « Affordable Care Act – Health Care Reform Act (2010)

Healthcare Reform Act


Healthcare Reform Act of 2010
(the "Affordable Care Act")

Effects on people who are elderly or disabled


    The Obama administration launched this website as an online tool connecting consumers with information and resources to help them access quality, affordable health coverage.

Upheld by the Supreme Court – June 28, 2012

National Federation of Independent Business et al v. Sebeluis, Secretary of State and Human Services, et al


  • Ruling of the Supreme Court – 6/28/12
    In 2010, Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in order to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance and decrease the cost of health care. One key provision isthe individual mandate, which requires most Americans to maintain“minimum essential” health insurance coverage. Another key provision of the Act is the Medicaid expansion.

    Twenty-six States, several individuals, and the National Federation of Independent Business brought suit in Federal District Court,challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion.

    The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld the Medicaid expansion as a valid exercise of Congress’s spending power, but concluded that Congress lacked authority to enact the individual mandate. Finding the mandate severable from theAct’s other provisions, the Eleventh Circuit left the rest of the Act intact.

    Held: The judgment is affirmed in part and reversed in part.

  • Supreme Court on Health Care Law: How they Voted, What They Wrote (CNN – 6/28/12)
    Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion. He was joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. Those in the dissent included Justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Reactions to the Supreme Court Ruling (re: effects on people who are elderly or disabled)

  • AARP Responds to Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act (AARP Press Release – 6/28/12)
    AARP is pleased that the Supreme Court found the critically important provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to be constitutional. This landmark legislation is already improving the health and financial security of our members and all Americans. We are analyzing the entire decision, including the Medicaid portion of the Supreme Court’s decision, to understand what it means for affordable healthcare coverage moving forward.
  • Health Care Ruling a Win, Disability Advocates Say (Disability Scoop – 6/29/12)
    Advocates are hailing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold sweeping changes to the nation’s health care system as a victory for people with disabilities. “People with disabilities and their families have their lives dictated by the status of their health insurance,” said Katy Neas, senior vice president of government relations at Easter Seals. “The Supreme Court’s ruling today tells these families they can make decisions about what is best for them as a family, and not be controlled by fear of losing health insurance coverage.”
  • National Council on Disability Applauds Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act (6/28/12)
    “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.” 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.
  • National Council on Independent Living Hails Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act Decision (Enpowered Living – 6/28/12)
    “In short, for people with disabilities, the Court’s decision is historic,” said Kelly Buckland , NCIL’s Executive Director. “This decision means that people with disabilities will have new community living options to live in their own homes and will be able to access essential health care coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions.”
  • The Affordable Care Act – What Disability Advocates Need to Know (The Arc)
    The Arc’s national office policy staff has prepared this issue of National Policy Matters on The Affordable Care Act and the elements of the law that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • The Arc Reacts to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision on the Affordable Care Act (PRWeb 6/28/12)
    “People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have been waiting for generations for the insurance reforms put in place by the Affordable Care Act. Today’s ruling removes any doubts that the law Congress enacted should stand and will benefit millions of people with and without disabilities. “But the ruling is not perfect for people with I/DD. The Arc is concerned that disallowing the federal government the ability to withhold Medicaid dollars from states that don’t expand their program to cover more of the uninsured might mean that people with I/DD who would have benefitted from the expansion could be left behind. We will carefully watch how states react to this development and encourage our advocates across the country to put pressure on their state leaders to do the right thing and expand their Medicaid program.”

New Health Law Implications – Special Needs Trusts

  • New Health Law and Its Implications for Trustees of Special Needs Trusts
    (By Patricia E. Kefalas Dudek and Sanford J. Mall – Nov., 2010)
  • From a presentation given at the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) Advanced Fall Institute: New advocacy opportunities contained within provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that will impact the lives of people with disabilities.
  • Trustees of SNTs, their attorneys, people with disabilities and their families have traditionally needed to practice "constant vigilance" to assure Medicaid and Medicare coverage is used to the maximum extent possible before accessing private funds. The extensive changes coming from the Affordable Health Care Act will result in extensive additional confusion and error…so in light of these changes and the need to protect private resources, let's turn to the new health law and the changes which trustees of SNTs and their clients and advisors need to examine through a microscope. 

 Articles re: Effects of Healthcare Reform Act on People Who Are Elderly or Disabled

  • Actions Helpful to Senior Citizens in Health Care Bill Promoted by Senate Aging Chairman (Senior Journal) 3-23-10
    Several provisions of the Health Care Reform Bill that was signed into law by President Obama were long-championed by the Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI). All were supported by Kohl as being helpful to senior citizens.
  • Do You Support Healthcare for People with Disabilities? (Spinal Cord Advocates)
    Given all of the TV, radio and news coverage on healthcare reform it can be difficult to understand the reform effort and the details that are in it. You might find yourself asking, “What does healthcare reform mean for me?” “Why should I support this reform effort?”…
  • Health Bill Provision on Long-Term Care Will Affect Baby Boomers (Kaiser Health News – 4/13/10)
    One of the lesser-known provisions in the new health law may have one of the biggest and longest-lived impacts. As baby boomers edge into their 60s, many wonder how they will get care, if they're unable to care for themselves.
  • Health Care Reform and Low-Income Older Adults: an Overview (National Senior Citizens Law Center – 4/10)
    A summary of provisions of the new law that impact low-income older adults.
  • Health Reform: What Changes Are In Store for the Elderly? (ElderLaw Answers – 7/3/12)
    After a year of legislative wrangling and premature forecasts of death, historic legislation overhauling the nation's health insurance system has passed the Congress and been signed into law by President Obama. Of perhaps greatest interest to seniors, the law will eventually close the Medicare Part D coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole."
  • Health Care Reform Benefits (DD News Blog – 8/9/10)
    Family Voices, an organization devoted to family-centered care for all children and youth with special health care needs, has written a statement on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act summarizing benefits. They give some useful examples of situations in which the benefits will be of particular interest to parents of children with disabilities. A document on the immediate benefits available is found here.
  • Health Reform Can Keep More Older Adults Out of Nursing Homes (Disabled World – 10/24/10)
    In recognition of the six month anniversary of the health reform law, a new report from the National Senior Citizens Law Center, with support from The SCAN Foundation, calls on states to use the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to end Medicaid's long-standing bias toward funding long-term care in institutional settings such as nursing homes.
  • How Will Health Insurance Reforms Affect Us? (The Arc – 9/2/10)
    The new health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and its regulations will bring about many significant improvements for people with disabilities. The law will greatly improve coverage (who can get health insurance) and benefits (what services and products are covered). It will do so largely by limiting or banning many health insurance company practices have been particularly harmful to people with disabilities.
  • Implications for DD Systems in the Health Care Reform Law
    Last month, the U.S. Congress completed over a year’s worth of legislative work when they passed two bills that will determine the final structure of health care reform.
  • Kaiser Foundation Reports Aimed at Informing Debate on Health Care Reform
    Three new reports and a video examine the range of health care needs and costs that people face today and the scope of coverage that may be available to them under health reform. One of the reports, Individuals With Special Needs and Health Reform: Adequacy of Health Insurance Coverage, is particularly relevant to people with serious mental illnesses. This and other reports can be accessed at the link above.
  • Long-Term Care Provisions in the New Reform Law (Aging and Disability in America – 1/2/11)
    To provide a look at the various provisions of the new health reform law on LTC, a distinguished panel of experts addressed questions such as: What are the provisions of the law pertaining to LTC? How will consumers, providers and states be affected? What are the major components of the CLASS Act, and what are some of the challenges for states and the federal government in implementation? Access the presentations, transcript, event summary, podcast and more.
  • Needs of Alzheimer Population Addressed in Healthcare Reform Legislation (Alzheimer's Assn.)
    While the Association did not endorse any specific healthcare reform legislation, the Association did work to ensure that all bills under consideration contained the strongest provisions possible to address the particular challenges and concerns of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s. Several provisions in the final measure would deliver substantial benefits to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and to their caregivers.
  • What's in Health Care Reform for Elders? (Time Goes By) – 4-24-10
    Many subscribers are concerned about potential cuts to their Medicare Advantage plans or increased premiums or cuts in benefits such as free gym memberships. On the other hand, the bill requires that 85 percent of revenue be used for actual health care rather than administrative costs like high executive salaries and bonuses.
  • Will the ACA Reduce Public Disability Coverage?  ( – 9/24/12)
    The New England Journal of Medicine article, "Health Insurance-Motivated Disability Enrollment and the ACA," suggests that a positive and unintended impact of the Affordable Care Act will be a slowdown in the number of Americans claiming public disability insurance coverage. Not many Americans know this, but the part of the Social Security Trust Fund tied to disability insurance is facing a financial crisis and its insolvency is now predicted within the next four years if no reforms are made. This should be a topic for both President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and it is to their discredit that neither discusses this.

Publications re: Effects of Healthcare Reform Act on People Who Are Elderly or Disabled

Resources re: Effects of Healthcare Reform Act on People Who Are Elderly or Disabled

  • Health Care Reform Information (NAELA)
    Links and related information on The Act and other educational materials from the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

All PEKD Advocacy pages About Healthcare Reform Act: