On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, which together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act represents the most significant government expansion and regulatory overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.
PPACA is aimed primarily at decreasing the number of uninsured US-Americans and reducing the overall costs of healthcare. On June 28, 2012 the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of most of the PPACA confirming it as the “Law of the Land.”
Although many of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act such as requirements for insurance companies to cover all applicants, offering the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions, and keeping dependent children on their parents insurance plan until age 26 regardless of whether they live with parents, are claimed on tax returns, are no longer a student and are married, have to a large degree been implemented, too many of our people, small businesses and non-profits are still uncertain about what they qualify for, how insurance and medical decisions will be made, what regulations prohibit insurers from dropping policyholders, or the extent to which Medicare is being expanded.
How many of us, for example, are aware that in 2012 all new health plans began to cover mammograms, colonoscopies and women’s preventive services without deductible, co-pay or cost-sharing? How many are prepared to adapt to the health insurance exchanges that will be commonplace by 2014? Will our small businesses know how to secure tax credits offered to them in 2014, or be able to manage regulated maximum deductibles mandated for employer sponsored health plans? For our marginalized and underrepresented communities, will “Undocumented Immigrants” remain eligible for emergency services under the EMT & Active Labor Act?
These are just a few of the questions being asked by Latinos and the at large communities of which we are integral members. For these reasons we devote this year’s conference to our Community’s Health, The Affordable Care Act, Preventive Care Strategies, Hospice Care, Medicaid and Medicare expansion, poverty and toward activities which move us as a people, toward better health.
This year we bring you experts on the PPACA, doctors devoted to addressing diabetes, a major killer within the Hispanic/Latino community, agency directors, advocates for individual and community health, and workshop presenters dedicated to insuring the Latino and at large community have the information they need to better serve their clients, agencies, neighborhoods and communities. This is essential information and we urge you to collect it and take it back to share with your co-workers, agencies and communities. Your service to our people and the greater community is greatly appreciated. Your work will aid our communities in preparing for a better tomorrow.
Yours for a Better Tomorrow,
Michael Ferrer Joel Arredondo
CHIP Advocacy Chair President