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Supreme Court health care ruling a win for disability advocates

In one of the most significant decisions to pass in decades, the Supreme Court approved the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," Congress' first successful attempt at a comprehensive federal law to govern the nation's health care system. While the law has left some in protest, it has been considered a step in the right direction by disability advocates in California and nationwide.

Advocates for people with disabilities praised the ruling that upholds most of the federal health care law. The Court's decision came as a surprise to many legal experts who anticipated that it would be in part or as a whole, struck down.

While there were nationwide celebrations of the landmark decision, there has also been criticism regarding the limitations on extending Medicaid coverage. According to the ruling, the federal government cannot withhold Medicaid dollars from states that don't expand their Medicaid programs to cover those who are uninsured and who do not otherwise qualify for benefits.

Still, policymakers and disability advocates see many of the law's provisions as a benefit to people with disabilities and their families. For those who suffer from mental and physical disabilities, the law will expand insurance coverage and provide favorable policy reforms. The Affordable Care Act will also extend coverage to millions of people with and without disabilities and it will put an end to discriminatory insurance practices.

Here are some additional benefits that those with disabilities may see as a consequence of the Affordable Care Act:

  • States have the option to allow people with disabilities more control over the funding they receive for personal support staff
  • Additional federal funding and support to states so they can transport people with disabilities from institutions to other locations in the community
  • Opportunities for training of health care providers (including dentists) to meet the special needs of individuals with developmental and other disabilities

Source: Minnesota Post , "Disability advocates like most of Supreme Court health care ruling," Joe Kimball, June 29, 2012.

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