Reposted with permission from ADAPT of Texas
Dear Governor Abbott and Atty General Paxton:
ADAPT of Texas is concerned about the lawsuit you are leading that, if successful, will rule that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional.
The ACA has significantly improved health care in the state of Texas. These improvements include several aspects of community long term services and supports. What are some of the benefits? Examples include:
- Required essential benefits in health insurance plans;
- Elimination of annual and lifetime maximum benefits cap;
- Allowing young people to stay on parent’s insurance until age 26;
- Protections for people with pre-existing conditions;
- Increased Medicaid match for home & community services.
Even with these improvements Texas leads the nation with the largest number and percentage of uninsured people. Texas has the largest number of uninsured children – 10.7% – more than twice the national average. These numbers could have been significantly reduced in the past few years; however, Texas has chosen not to avail ourselves of the Medicaid Expansion.
ADAPT of Texas wants to highlight two areas in the ACA that currently have a direct positive effect on people with disabilities of all ages.
COVERAGE FOR PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
All disabled people, regardless of age, have a pre-existing condition, many have more than one. This fact is often overlooked when discussing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions are a disability issue. The protections for people with pre-existing conditions in the ACA not only require insurance coverage, this coverage must be offered for the same price as insurance coverage for people without pre-existing conditions. In addition, the ACA provides a subsidy so people with less income can afford this important coverage.
Texas recognized the need of people with pre-existing conditions before the ACA and created a High Risk Pool. This pool was shut down when the ACA became law. Though the coverage was not bad, it was outrageously expensive, completely unaffordable to thousands of Texans. The result? Texans with pre-existing conditions, who were not on Medicaid and/or Medicare and were not wealthy, were often uninsured, were sicker or more disabled, and even died because of lack of coverage.
COMMUNITY LONG TERM SERVICES AND SUPPORTS
There are many sections in the ACA that do not directly impact health insurance yet have a significant effect on the health care delivery system.
The Community First Choice (CFC) Option is a section in the ACA that improves the individuals’ health by delivering long term services and supports in a community setting. Study after study shows that people of all ages who need personal care supports prefer and benefit from services and supports in the community. Not only do these people prefer and see health benefits from community services and supports, they save the state millions of Medicaid dollars. Texas provides CFC services to people with disabilities and, thanks to the ACA, receives a 6% Medicaid enhanced match.
If the Texas led lawsuit prevails, protections for pre-existing conditions, CFC and the 6% Medicaid enhanced match goes away.
ADAPT of Texas asks you not to target Texans with disabilities and to drop off the lawsuit and work with us to develop a health care delivery system, including community long term services and supports, that meet the needs of people with disabilities of all ages and incomes.
We ask for a meeting to discuss the above issues. Please let me know the day, time and location that works for y’all.
For an Institution and Barrier Free Texas,
Bob Kafka, Organizer