On Friday, December 14, a Federal judge in Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be struck down as unconstitutional after its individual mandate penalty was zeroed out last year as part of the Tax Reform bill. You can read more about the ruling here. Consumers and health care providers should keep the following in mind.
The ACA is still the law, and nothing has changed. The ruling will be appealed.
All provisions of the ACA currently remain in place. The ruling has no impact on current Marketplace coverage and will not impact coverage in 2019 plans. Consumers should continue to pay their monthly premiums and use their health insurance. Consumers can continue to rely on their local community health centers for enrollment help. The recent ruling will be appealed and is expected to work its way to the Supreme Court—a process that could take many months.
Insurance Coverage has increased in NC since passage of the ACA
Even though North Carolina did not expand Medicaid under the ACA, insurance coverage rates in the state have increased since implementation of the health care law. In 2017, 11% of the NC population was uninsured, down from 16% in 2013.The ACA has positively impacted patients by protecting those with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26.
North Carolina Still Has a Coverage Gap
Though North Carolina’s economy is growing, that growth is across many sectors including low-wage service jobs and those in the gig economy. Many people in these jobs do not have coverage through their employers. North Carolina should offer its residents, affordable, reliable access to regular primary and preventive care (as well as access to specialists and other needed services), so that we can keep the economy growing sustainably.
Access to Health Care is Necessary to Curbing the Opioid Epidemic & Addressing Behavioral Health Problems
Effective treatment solutions for opioid require a holistic approach. Having health insurance coverage for medical and behavioral health care is essential to treatment success and avoidance of relapse. Behavioral health challenges may result in barriers to employment, sustaining a healthy family, and keeping one’s home. Maintaining ongoing access to behavioral health services are important for many people with significant behavioral health struggles.
The North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA) is the state’s Primary Care Association. Formed in 1978 by the leadership of community health centers, NCCHCA is comprised of membership from each of the 41 health center grantees, aspiring health centers and other partners. Board membership is open to all Federally Qualified Health Center Grantees and Look-alikes. These health center grantees and Look-alikes operate over 220 clinical sites and served over 560,000 patients in 2017.