General News
Posted June 28, 2012
The Supreme Court Upholds the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - What Does it Mean for Children's Health Care?

On June 28th, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of the Department of Health and Human Services, et. al v. Florida, and upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The decision removes any doubt about the constitutionality of the ACA. That said, there remains a great deal of uncertainty about the law's implementation and potential legislative changes in the near term.  As a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, All Children's Hospital remains committed to improving the health of our community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in patient care and will continue to work with state, federal and local policy makers toward that end.

Johns Hopkins has been a leading force in discovery and excellence in medicine for more than 120 years. All Children's is proud to be a member of a health system which played a role in the health reform debate prior to the law's passage. We hope to continue to play a role in the national health policy debate as we transform our health care system with more cost-effective strategies and enhanced quality of care.

So, what specifically does this mean for children's health care? The Children's Hospital Association (of which All Children's Hospital is a member) offers the following points:

  • The Court's ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensures children's health care will continue to benefit from specific provisions. The following are the most beneficial to children's health care coverage and access:
    • Private insurance reforms for children
    • Provisions that require coverage of children with preexisting conditions
    • Require coverage for dependents until age 26
    • Require coverage with no cost sharing for preventive services including immunizations; and prohibit annual and lifetime limits on coverage
  • However, it is unclear at this time how the Court's ruling will impact the key provisions affecting Medicaid. 
    • Temporary increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for pediatricians and pediatric specialists to improve access to care
    • Maintenance of effort - requirement for states to maintain current Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for children through Sept. 30, 2019
  • The following ACA provisions strengthen the pediatric infrastructure and help ensure children's access to needed preventive and acute care services: 
    • Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovations and its funding of projects innovating care solutions for children
    • Pediatric Accountable Care Organizations - authorized (although unfunded) demonstration projects designed to improve care
  • While Congress and the White House continue to debate how to improve the nation's health care system and reduce costs, we urge leaders to first consider the health care needs of children.
  • While the ACA is a positive step forward, much work remains to strengthen children's coverage, access, and system improvements to result in improved quality and reduced costs.
  • By innovating care delivery models within Medicaid, children's hospitals are working to be part of the solution to the health care costs facing our nation.