Thursday, June 28, 2012

Family Voices Joins Children’s Health Advocates to React to Affordable Care Act Ruling

Waiting Outside the Supreme Court for the Affordable Care Act Decision, Thursday Morning, June 28, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Janis Guerney, Family Voices Public Policy Co-Director

Washington, DC – Family Voices joined seven of the nation’s leading child health and advocacy organizations to react to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling today to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

“We’re very pleased the Supreme Court upheld the entire Affordable Care Act,” said Family Voices Executive Director Sophie Arao-Nguyen. “The law is a great step forward in protecting and improving the health of all children, including children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities. Today’s ruling means these vulnerable children will continue to enjoy the critical protections afforded by the law, such as bans on pre-existing condition exclusions, lifetime limits, and all annual limits on insurance coverage as of 2014. We’re grateful young adults can still be covered under their parents’ insurance plans up to age 26, and also that as of 2014, former foster children will be covered under Medicaid up to age 26. However, we’re disappointed the Court weakened the expansion of Medicaid to cover additional low-income adults. Family Voices will continue to join with our partners in each state to advocate for state coverage of this population.”

The other organizations represented in the joint response included: American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Defense Fund, Children’s Hospital Association, First Focus Campaign for Children, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, March of Dimes, and Voices for America’s Children.

The ACA will enable more children with pre-existing conditions to obtain health insurance and give families expanded choices in selecting health care plans.  Getting the right coverage for a child with special health care needs is critically important – and can be particularly complicated. It can also be confusing and overwhelming for families. So, although the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the ACA is a great victory for many parents, navigating the personal implications of this decision can be also be daunting.

Fortunately,  Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2F HICs) in every state and Washington, DC stand ready to help families of children with special health care needs choose the coverage that will best meet each child’s needs.  Family Voices supports each of the 51 F2F HICs through its National Center for Family and Professional Partnerships (NCFPP), which provides technical assistance to these centers, and documents the services, education, and information they provide to families and professionals. Donene Feist, Director at Family Voices of North Dakota, the Family-to-Family Health Information Center in in that state, commented:

“Any time there’s a change in policy that impacts the services available to families of children with special health care needs and disabilities, we get a lot of calls from parents asking for help. With the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the ACA, we anticipate the need to assist many families in navigating their health insurance options.”
Johnny Wilson, Executive Director of Parents Reaching Out, the Family-to-Family Health Information Center in New Mexico, said:
"Getting health insurance is so complex it's a real challenge for families. If they can just access a single program or person that helps it become clear, that can mean the difference in terms of their child getting the services he or she needs."
For more information about the NCFPP and the F2F HICs, please visit For more information about Family Voices, please visit

Here are statements about the Supreme Court Ruling from Family Voices’ partners in today’s joint press release:

“Today, the Supreme Court upheld a law that invests in children’s health from the ground up,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Robert W. Block, MD, FAAP. “The Academy endorsed the Affordable Care Act because it addresses the same ‘A-B-C’ goals that are entrenched in our mission and in our 82 years of child health advocacy: providing  all children in this country with Access to health care services, age-appropriate Benefits to meet their unique needs, and high-quality, affordable health care Coverage.” For more information, visit

“Today’s decision is a clear victory for children of all ages, races and incomes in America,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund. “I am delighted the Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, including the Medicaid expansion, but I am deeply concerned by the limitation of the expansion that could exclude millions of poor parents. Together we need to work until all children and parents and everyone in America are guaranteed access to comprehensive, affordable health coverage.” For more information, visit

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling means children – especially chronic and complex patients that children’s hospitals specialize in treating – will continue benefitting from Affordable Care Act provisions including those that prohibit annual and lifetime caps on coverage,” said Mark Wietecha, President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital Association. “Children’s hospitals are innovating care delivery for this special-needs population through such models as medical homes with funding from CMMI and through other collaboratives. This care not only improves pediatric outcomes but takes costs out of the system – a goal shared by Congress and the Obama Administration.” For more information, visit

“Today’s ruling is a significant win for kids. State and federal officials can now get on with the urgent business of effectively and assertively implementing the Affordable Care Act so that more kids can have access to the health care they need. We urge policymakers to act quickly and make the right implementation choices so the Affordable Care Act can continue making progress covering uninsured kids, protecting millions of kids and parents from abusive insurance practices, and delivering quality care for kids from head to toe,” said First Focus President Bruce Lesley. For more information, visit
“While today’s decision is great news for our nation's children and families, we remain concerned that the Court left open the possibility that the lowest income parents and other adults could be left behind. Now the responsibility for ensuring this is indeed a victory for all rests squarely on the shoulders of the states,” said Joan Alker and Jocelyn Guyer, Co-Executive Directors of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families. For more information, visit

“This decision represents a landmark victory for pregnant women, infants and families.  The Affordable Care Act will extend the benefits of health coverage to millions of women, children and families who would otherwise face every illness as a potential catastrophe.  This law will give more pregnant women access to prenatal, maternity and postnatal care; more children the ability to obtain lifesaving vaccines and services to ensure their healthy development; and more families the financial security of knowing that they have adequate insurance.  The Affordable Care Act will require that every health plan offer care for maternity coverage, in contrast to today’s individual market, where only 13 percent of plans cover maternity care,” said Jennifer L. Howse, PhD, President of the March of Dimes. For more information, visit

“Children have been some of the biggest winners in the health reform law, and now millions of American families can breathe easier knowing that care will be accessible and affordable," said Bill Bentley, president and CEO of Voices for America's  Children. "With the fate of health reform now clear, every state should proceed with implantation of the law, full speed ahead. A number of states have been dragging their feet when it comes to establishing the new insurance markets for health plans, but now they must start laying the groundwork if the law is to benefit everyone by 2014."  For more information, visit

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