This Week in CHCACTion!
December 17, 2018
This Week in CHCACTivities
This weekend, while many of us were holiday shopping/preparing/celebrating, two important developments occurred with respect to the Affordable Care Act.
ACA Ruled Unconstitutional
First, on Friday evening, a federal judge in Texas, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, ruled that the Affordable Care Act was not constitutional.
What is the lawsuit?
The case, Texas v United States, was filed in February, 2018 by 18 Republican state Attorneys General and 2 Republican Governors – subsequent to the December, 2017 tax law passed by Congress. That tax law removed the federal penalty for not having health insurance, starting in 2019; while the individual mandate officially still exists in statute, there is no longer a fine or tax for noncompliance. (You should still buy health insurance, though!)
Back in 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the ACA and, specifically, the individual mandate, citing that Congress has the right to establish taxes. So, the plaintiffs in the current case argued that, with the 2017 tax law’s removal of the tax/fine for noncompliance, the individual mandate was not constitutional. Instead of defending the law, the federal Justice Department sided with the plaintiffs and argued that several provisions of the ACA were inextricably linked to the individual mandate piece, and that those sections should be struck down as well.
What did the decision say?
Judge O’Connor ultimately ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. Moreover, he ruled that the rest of the Affordable Care Act can not be separated out from the individual mandate – and therefore the entire law is not valid.
First off – know that nothing has changed yet. The Affordable Care Act is still in place as the law of the land. That is because another group of state Attorneys General (representing 17 states, including Connecticut) has already announced it will appeal the decision, to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. While the appeal is underway, the law remains in place. It is possible that the case will eventually end up back at the Supreme Court. Stay tuned.
Open Enrollment Extended
Meanwhile, unrelated to the lawsuit, Access Health CT announced on Saturday that it will extend the Open Enrollment period for buying health insurance to January 15th. Open Enrollment was expected to end on Saturday, so the extension is a welcome relief to those who had not yet purchased insurance for 2019! Access Health CT will hold three enrollment fairs over the next month, and, of course, CT’s health centers are ready to help with enrollment as well! Find a health center here.
Get in touch with any questions!
This Week in Social Media
This Week in Funding Opportunities
|Big Lots Foundation
Big Lots invests in partnerships that improve and enrich the lives of families and children. Support is provided in the form of monetary gifts, gift cards, and merchandise in-kind.
|Drug Free Communities Support Program
Funded by SAMHSA, the purpose of the DFC Support Program is to establish and strengthen collaboration to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent youth substance use.
|Hartford Foundation Civic Engagement Project: Get Out the Vote & Get Out the Count
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving seeks to both enhance local efforts to engage underrepresented voters through Get Out The Vote (GOTV) activities in 2019 and 2020 and increase Census 2020 awareness among hard to count residents in the Greater Hartford region through Get Out The Count (GOTC) outreach and other efforts. Nonprofits may apply for funding for either or both GOTV and GOTC activities.
|HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Program
Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) in support of the National Library of Medicine® (NLM) announces the solicitation of proposals from organizations and libraries to design and conduct projects that will improve access to HIV/AIDS related health information for patients, the affected community, and their caregivers.
|Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program
HRSA’s THCGME supports the training of residents in new or expanded primary care residency training programs in community-based ambulatory patient care centers. Programs will prepare residents to provide high quality care, particularly in rural and underserved communities, and develop competencies to serve these diverse populations and communities. Two award types are available: 1. Continuation awards at existing HRSA THCGME Programs; and 2. New awards will be made to support new resident full-time equivalent (FTE) positions at new Teaching Health Centers (THCs), as funding permits.
This Week in Health Policy News
Here is a sampling of health policy news from around the state. If you see something in your local newspaper that you would like featured here in future weeks, please contact Deb Polun at email@example.com. Check out all the Health Policy News from the past month here!
12.13.18 Bristol Press — $150,000 Grant Will Help Bristol, Wheeler Clinic in Opioid Fight
12.11.18 New Haven Register — New Haven Gets $2.2 Million in Malloy’s Final Meeting (feat. Fair Haven Community Health Care)
12.11.18 The Hour — Hospitals Reduce ER Visits With Proactive Community Support (feat. Norwalk Community Health Center)
12.14.18 Hartford Business Journal — Connecticut Insurance Commissioner to Depart
12.13.18 CT Mirror — Advocates Warn Fiscal Caps Could Tighten on Social Services, Local Aid
12.11.18 CT Mirror — Shingles Vaccine Scarce in CT – Shortage to Continue
12.15.18 CT NewsJunkie — Access Health CT Extends Enrollment Deadline to January
12.15.18 CT Mirror — As Texas Judge Rules ACA “Invalid,” Access Health CT Extends 2019 Signup Period
12.14.18 CT NewsJunkie — Christian Health Sharing Provides Alternative to Health Insurance
12.13.18 Vox — We Read Democrats’ 8 Plans for Universal Health Care. Here’s How They Work.
12.17.18 Governing — “Ripe for an Outbreak” – Vaccine Exemptions Are On The Rise
12.16.18 CT Mirror — Nurse Denied Life Insurance Because She Carries Naloxone