Congressman Faleomavaega today issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by a vote of 5-4. Signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, the historic healthcare reform law will be fully implemented in 2014.
The main requirements under the law that were challenged in the Supreme Court were the individual mandate, which was upheld under the tax power of Congress, and the provision which requires states to implement new Medicaid eligibility requirements.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a victory for all Americans, including those living in American Samoa. Through this law, Americans will receive new benefits such as patient protections and individuals will no longer be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and children will be able to remain on their parents’ insurance policy through age 26. By upholding the Affordable Care Act, we are holding insurance companies accountable for their actions and providing greater access to affordable healthcare to those who are normally left to fend for themselves,” Faleomavaega stated.
“The law also reduces the health disparities between the Territories and the States through increased funding to our Medicaid programs and the option to participate in the Health Insurance Exchange program,” Faleomavaega added.
“The ACA has provided significant changes to Medicaid funding for the Territories that work towards bringing parity with the States, including $6.3 billion in additional funding for Medicaid in the Territories from FY 2011-FY 2019. Territories also received a 5 percent increase in its Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) from 50 to 55 percent federal share.”
“As a result of this historic legislation, in the same time period, American Samoa will receive an increase of $180 million in incremental distributions in its total Medicaid spending cap, totaling $285.5 million over the nine year period,” Faleomavaega said.
“The ACA also provides $1 billion for the Territories to participate in the Health Insurance Exchange program and each of the Territories will be given the option to participate or transfer their allocation to their Medicaid program. Should American Samoa opt out of the Exchange by 2014, the Territory will receive an additional $18.75 million for its Medicaid program.”
“The many consumer protections afforded by the ACA will also apply to those residents in the Territory who purchase private insurance. For example, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions or dropping coverage for someone who gets sick. Cancer patients and others with serious diseases will be protected from lifetime limits on coverage preexisting conditions, and all annual limits will be banned in 2014 when the law takes full effect.”
“Because of this victory in the U.S. Supreme Court, this monumental healthcare reform policy and its many benefits will stand. However, we will continue to be vigilant as efforts to repeal the bill are already underway,” Congressman Faleomavaega stated.
“I thank President Obama and who fought to make health care a right, and not just a privilege, in our Nation. I also want to thank Congressional leaders for working with the Congressional Delegates to make certain that the Territories were included in this historic legislation. .”
“Once again, I applaud the Supreme Court for their decision,” Faleomavaega concluded.