Government: Clint W. Sabin
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Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) Responds to U.S. Supreme Court’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Decision
Impact is Positive and Far-reaching for many LGBT Americans
Chicago, Ill. (June 28, 2012) – Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) responded immediately to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and particularly on the impact it will have on its patients, clients, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The nation’s highest court issued its ruling today on one of the most notable legislative accomplishments this nation has seen in decades. HBHC is pleased that the Court upheld the ACA, affirming HBHC’s long-standing belief that high-quality and affordable health care is a right, not a privilege, for all Americans, including LGBT people and people living with HIV/AIDS, many of whom will gain access to affordable health coverage and care for the first time ever.
The Court’s decision, which upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, has affirmed that over the next few years, 32 million Americans will be able to obtain health insurance and receive vital protections and benefits. This means that in the coming years millions of newly insured people, and communities identified as medical shortage areas, will gain access to doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, and the quality cost-effective primary and preventive services health centers like HBHC provide.
Also as a result of the Court’s decision to uphold the law, insurance providers will no longer be able to deny coverage based upon pre-existing conditions, which is particularly important for HIV-positive patients and others with chronic conditions. Through the expansion of Medicaid and development of Health Insurance Exchanges like the one currently being assessed in Illinois, HBHC will be able to extend care and meet the needs of more people in the LGBT community; particularly many lower income men who were previously denied the benefits and protections of Medicaid coverage prior to passage of the ACA.
Of particular importance to many of HBHC’s patients is the portion of the decision dealing with the expansion of Medicaid. Some States argued that they had no real choice whether to accept the Federal expansion of coverage and the associated increased costs to the States without risking losing all of their Federal Medicaid funding. The Court agreed that the penalty was too steep and did not provide States a real choice whether to participate in the expansion or not. Essentially, the Court removed the stick and kept the carrot of Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Illinois is perfectly poised to embrace the ACA Medicaid expansion with its recent Medicaid reform legislation that goes into effect July 1, 2012. Once again, HBHC commends Governor Quinn and legislative leaders for their efforts to reform the Illinois Medicaid program in line with the ACA, which will enable HBHC to serve many patients through Medicaid who previously were unable to receive coverage.
For almost 40 years, Howard Brown Health Center has provided quality health and wellness services to its patients and clients primarily in the LGBT community, many of whom are not insured or lack sufficient resources to pay. In anticipation of today’s decision, HBHC has already been expanding its portfolio of services, becoming very innovative about the ways in which it delivers care, and increasing its number of providers to meet the needs of those who will now have access to care. HBHC stands ready, and together with its peer community health centers will meet the growing demand for quality health and wellness services that will follow the implementation of the ACA.
"Today, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision kept the door open for millions of LGBT Americans to gain access to high-quality, affordable health care," said Jamal M. Edwards, Esq., president and CEO, Howard Brown Health Center. "Regardless of the rationale, the ruling ultimately affirms that access to health care in the United States is a right that all people in America should possess, especially those who have experienced the greatest disparities. HBHC is proud of the Court’s ruling and looks forward to continuing its plans to present itself to the Chicagoland community and beyond as a provider of choice, for excellent, culturally competent and compassionate health care and wellness services."
About Howard Brown Health Center
Founded in 1974, Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) is one of the nation's largest health care and research organizations, primarily serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and its allies. It is the largest such organization in the Midwest and serves more than 15,000 adults and youth each year throughout the region. An innovative and patient-centered health home, HBHC provides primary medical care, behavioral health services, and specialty chronic and infectious disease services, and conducts nationally-renowned clinical and behavioral research.