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Health Care Campaign: ‘No More Excuses for Delay’ Implementing Affordable Care Act

Press Release from the Tennessee Health Care Campaign, June 28, 2012: 

Nashville, TN – The United States Supreme court released this morning their much-anticipated decision on the constitutionality of provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes known as “Obamacare” or the Affordable Care Act. In this unprecendented ruling, the court found the individual mandate provision constitutional and upheld the rest of the law. The mandate would require all Americans to carry some sort of health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty.

Tennesseans across the state are celebrating the Supreme Court decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, rallying in communities across the state to show support for the health care reform law that will provide affordable access to high-quality health care for one million uninsured Tennesseans and guarantee protections to all 6.4 million state residents.

“With this landmark decision, the Supreme Court of the United States has marked the end of partisan political games to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act. There are no more excuses for delay. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, and it is time for state lawmakers to start taking responsibility for ensuring that Tennessee families have the rights and protections guaranteed to them by the law,” states Beth Uselton, Executive Director of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign.

The Affordable Care Act was already working for Tennesseans in a number of ways.

  • 82,000 people with Medicare received a 50% discount on their brand-name prescription drugs, saving an average of $590 per person.
  • 797,000 people with Medicare received free preventive services – such as mammograms, colonoscopies – or a free annual wellness visit.
  • 878 previously uninsured Tennesseans now have coverage through the new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan
  • $15.1 million in grants from the Prevention and Public Health Fund to ensure that all Tennesseans can lead longer, more productive lives.
  • $46.7 million to create and sustain new and existing community health centers to expand preventive and primary health care services in medically underserved area. ?(Source:  http://www.healthcare.gov/law/resources/tn.html)

This decision gives hope and peace of mind for millions of Tennessee families. Children can no longer be denied coverage because of a pre-existing conditions; insurers can no longer drop policyholders’ plans, restrict benefits or place dollar limits on a person’s coverage; small businesses will no longer be priced out of the market, and seniors will continue to have access to no-cost preventive services, vaccinations, and check-ups.

“With all of these benefits and many, many more, Tennesseans will now be able to engage in a system that practices health care and not just sick care,” states Director of Communications, Brad Palmertree.  “We urge Tennessee lawmakers and policy makers to focus their future efforts on implementation strategies that puts consumers in control of their own care and provides guaranteed, affordable coverage for all. The cost of doing nothing is much too high.”

Tennessee Health Care Campain is the state’s premier nonprofit, nonpartisan health care consumer advocacy organization working towards affordable access to high-quality health care for all Tennesseans.

THCC & TN Justice Center: ‘Health Care Freedom Act’ Posturing, Not Pragmatic

Press Release from the Tennessee Health Care Campaign & Tennessee Justice Center, March 7, 2011:

The personal responsibility provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, not state legislatures

Nashville, TN – On March 7th, the Tennessee House of Representatives will take a vote on the “Tennessee Health Care Freedom Act”, a bill that essentially codifies objection to a single provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Beth Uselton, Executive Director of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign, a non-partisan patient advocacy organization, says that this legislation is a distraction from the larger problems in our health care system. “This bill which seeks to reject aspects of the new health care law does nothing to help solve the problems it addresses. We still have hundreds of thousands of neighbors who lack affordable access to health care or have been denied coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will address both of these problems by banning pre-existing condition exclusions and providing tax credits to help people afford coverage. Attempting to pass state laws that reject provisions of the federal law are a distraction from the real problems Tennessee families are facing.”

Chris Coleman, an attorney with the Tennessee Justice Center, a non-profit public interest law firm explains that the state law would have no real effect on implementation of the Affordable Care Act. “Under the U.S. Constitution, laws passed by the U.S. Congress are the supreme law of the land, notwithstanding anything in the constitution or laws of any state. This means that the Affordable Care Act, much to the dismay of its critics, is the supreme law of the United States and preempts any contrary state law. If the legislature believes the ACA is unconstitutional, then it may try to convince the Attorney General to join one the several lawsuits challenging the ACA. What it cannot do is nullify a duly enacted federal law in Tennessee. As a legal matter, this is not even close.”

Uselton believes that the Affordable Care Act, not partisan politics, will ultimately prevail. “Those who seek to block implementation of the law or delay its benefits are playing politics with the lives and livelihoods of their own citizens. The new health care law is working for families across Tennessee who now have the peace of mind that their children can no longer be denied care or coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Patients with chronic conditions no longer have to worry that they will exhaust the coverage they’ve paid for or be dropped from their insurance because they got sick. In a new health care system where everyone participates and takes responsibility for their own health care, we can actually reduce costs, expand coverage and improve the quality of care. But we have to get past political posturing and start working together to implement real solutions to the problems facing Tennessee families.”

THCC’s Statement on Florida Health Care Ruling

Press Release from Tennessee Health Care Campaign Executive Director Beth Uselton; Jan 31., 2011:

Nashville, TN – Tennessee Health Care Campaign’s Executive Director, Beth Uselton, states that U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling today in a lawsuit challenging the new health care law could have a devastating impact on the millions of Tennessee families who have new protections thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

“Tennessee patients already benefiting from the new law will be alarmed by the possibility that they could lose the security and peace of mind provided by it. Without the law in place, 23,100 young adults would lose their coverage, 995,000 seniors would lose free preventive services, 3.2 million residents would be subject to lifetime caps on health plan benefits and all Tennesseans would again be vulnerable to insurance company abuses. Without the Affordable Care Act, private for-profit insurance corporations will once again decide who receives care and who does not.”

“This litigation is really about the protecting health insurance company profits at the expense of working families. Politicians who marched in lockstep to bring this suit aren’t really interested in the new law’s individual-responsibility rule. This lawsuit is another tactic in the campaign to give our health care back to the insurance companies no matter what the cost.”

“We will not allow the courts or the Congress to bring us back to the time when insurance companies could exclude people because of pre-existing conditions, drop people for getting sick, or let benefit caps force people with serious diseases into bankruptcy.”

“It is important to remember that this is a single ruling by a single judge. More than a dozen other judges have found the law constitutional or dismissed legal challenges to it outright. Ultimately, this issue will be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. Until then, we must not let legal battles or partisan bickering overshadow the greater problems facing American families who are unable to access affordable health care.”