San Francisco, June 28, 2012 - Today the United States Supreme Court delivered a huge victory to nationwide efforts to establish a health care system that works for everyone, including the 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. By upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), today's decision delivers on the promise of health care for more than 30 million uninsured Americans. The historic ruling also upheld long-overdue protections for people with HIV and other chronic diseases, including safeguards against denial of coverage or exorbitant premiums for the especially sick, and annual and lifetime coverage limits for people with costly medical conditions.
“For the first time in the history of the epidemic, the ACA will dramatically expand health care access to people previously considered ‘uninsurable,’ including millions of Americans with HIV/AIDS and other serious illness,” said Neil Giuliano, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “Today, we move one step closer to having a health care system that supports access to care and treatment that prevent illness and disease progression, rather than a ’sick care system‘ that promotes disability and illness by limiting coverage options.”
The Affordable Care Act will address the failings of the current health care system by expanding Medicaid to all low-income people, creating open, competitive, fair marketplaces for uninsured and underinsured individuals and families to purchase private insurance, and providing subsidies to lower-income individuals to make insurance affordable. An estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the United States and need access to high-quality, uninterrupted medical care to stay healthy, reduce new HIV infections, and cut long-term health care costs.
“While today’s ruling is a huge victory, there’s no time for rest. We must continue our efforts to educate people affected by HIV about the key components of the ACA and how it will affect access to quality HIV prevention, care, and treatment,“ said Courtney Mulhern-Pearson, director of state and local affairs at San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “It is critically important that all Americans have accurate information about the law, how it will benefit them, and what it means for their health and the health of their communities.”
With today’s historic decision, San Francisco AIDS Foundation will redouble its efforts to ensure that health care reform implementation proceeds full steam ahead. The foundation urges Congress to acknowledge that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land by fully funding health care reform and ending efforts to repeal it. Progress must not be held hostage by politics.
“Today’s decision underscores the importance of continued funding of the Ryan White CARE Act during this time of transition to health care reform,” said Ernest Hopkins, director of legislative affairs at San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “In order to effectively transition clients and fully realize the promise of health care reform, we must continue our work with elected officials, policy makers, and peer organizations to secure the future of the Ryan White CARE Act.”
About San Francisco AIDS Foundation
No city experienced epidemic levels of HIV faster than San Francisco. At San Francisco AIDS Foundation, we work to end the epidemic where it first took hold, and eventually everywhere. Established in 1982, our mission is the radical reduction of new infections in San Francisco. Through education, advocacy, and direct services for prevention and care, we are confronting HIV in communities most vulnerable to the disease. We refuse to accept that HIV transmission is inevitable.