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ADA examining Supreme Court ruling

June 28, 2012

By Craig Palmer, ADA News staff

Washington—The Association is evaluating the June 28 U.S. Supreme Court Affordable Care Act decision with respect to ADA policy, the court having sanctioned essential provisions of the law including the health insurance mandate and most of the Medicaid provisions.

Association policy on the ACA as it neared passage and enactment, as expressed March 18, 2010 in a letter to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, spoke of “our disappointment” and said, “The ADA cannot support this legislation, because it would not include provisions to improve access to dental care for millions of Americans by properly funding Medicaid dental services.”

The Affordable Care Act expands the scope of the federal-state Medicaid program and increases the number of individuals the state must cover. The Supreme Court said the ACA’s scheduled Medicaid expansion can proceed but without an ACA provision threatening non-compliant states with the loss of their existing Medicaid funding.

“The states claim that this threat serves no purpose other than to force unwilling states to sign up for the dramatic expansion in health care coverage effected by the Act,” the court majority said. “Given the nature of the threat and the programs at issue here, we must agree.”

The ADA’s 2010 policy statement also identified “many worthwhile provisions pertaining to oral health” in the ACA. The Association review of the court’s opinion will consider the impact, if any, on these provisions.

“The Framers created a Federal Government of limited powers, and assigned to this Court the duty of enforcing those limits,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in speaking for the court’s majority. “The Court does so today. But the Court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is reserved to the people.”