Affordable Care Act Groundwork

Barack Obama's signature on ACA, with Approved Mar 23, 2010.HDA helped states interpret, adapt, and apply opportunities for older adults and people with disabilities presented by healthcare reform in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law March 23, 2010, brought about sweeping changes in the nation’s healthcare.

States had to determine whether they would expand their Medicaid program to poor adults and to create new marketplaces, called exchanges, where consumers could comparison shop for health insurance, first enacting legislation enabling them to do so. Health insurers had to develop a palette of marketplace offerings that would meet the new law’s requirements, and state regulators had to gear up to oversee those plans. And countless agencies, nonprofits and individuals needed to prepare for a time when people would need to select, or be assisted in selecting, health insurance, for possibly the first time in their lives. The law also brought about immediate changes, including small business tax credits and free preventive care for Medicare beneficiaries.

During this momentous time, HDA worked to help states such as Oregon, Washington, and Massachusetts interpret, adapt, and apply opportunities for older adults and people with disabilities presented by healthcare reform. In Illinois, HDA worked to advance the push for Medicaid expansion, which was signed into law in July 2013, and to inform the debate on the state insurance exchange.

HDA was also a founding member of the Starting Strong Coalition for ACA Implementation in Illinois, a partnership of health funders and advocates that came together to make webinars and information available that helped pave the way to ACA implementation, and then helped with enrollment efforts. Our fellow members include AgeOptions, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Campaign for Better Health Care, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, EverThrive Illinois, Illinois PIRG Education Fund, and Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

HDA’s work on ACA issues was supported by the VNA Foundation and the Polk Bros Foundation; Starting Strong was supported by the Michael Reese Health Trust and Chicago Community Trust.

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