THE ARC | 2010 ANNUAL REPORT
The Health Care Reform Law – Turning a Page for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Throughout the 2008 election season, how to reform our na-
tion’s health care system was hotly debated. While candidates and the public didn’t always agree on how to fix the system, there was universal agreement that the cost of insuring and de- livering medical care to Americans was rising at an unsustainable rate.
President Obama and his Administration set out to insure as
many people as possible while containing costs, and Congress worked throughout 2009 and into 2010 to craft legislation that met those goals while protecting popular programs like Medi- care and Medicaid. The Arc’s public policy team was at the forefront of the health
reform effort. Marty Ford, a longtime staff member, met with President Obama and senior administration officials to press for the inclusion of the needs of people with intellectual and devel- opmental disabilities (I/DD) in the bill. The Arc’s membership was mobilized to contact their Representatives and Senators to press for better access to acute health care and the expansion of long term services and supports. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Pro- tection and Affordable Care Act known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), into law, and it turned a page for people with I/DD. The Arc, along with other disability groups, celebrated the ac- complishment of many long-sought priorities in the new law, and these changes will undoubtedly have a positive impact on people with disabilities for generations.
Insurance will be more accessible to people with intellectual
and developmental disabilities. Health insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. The ACA eliminated annual and lifetime caps in private insur- ance policies and restricted the consideration of health status in setting premiums. And it expanded Medicaid to cover individ- uals with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line, which is approximately $29,725 per year for a family of four. The long term services and supports that are critical to people
with I/DD being fully included and able to participate in their community were greatly enhanced under the Affordable Care Act.
The law calls for a national long term services insurance pro-
gram to be created to assist individuals and their families to meet long term support needs without forcing them into poverty to receive Medicaid benefits. And after years of advocacy at the federal level by The Arc
and other disability groups, the new law helps to eliminate the institutional bias in Medicaid by changing how states can cover personal assistance and other community based services. The goal is to support people to live and work in the community. 2010 represented a tremendous leap forward in meeting the
health and long term support needs of people with I/DD. As the new law is phased in, The Arc will continue to advocate for effective implementation.
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, and it turned a page for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
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