With Census Bureau statistics released this week showing inequality rising and median household income declining to the lowest level in 16 years, Progressive States Network joined more than 20 of America’s leading organizations on work and the economy today in releasing a plan outlining 10 specific ways to rebuild America’s middle class. The new report recommends concrete proposals to strengthen the economy for the long-term by creating good jobs and addressing the economic insecurity that has spread to millions of U.S. families.
Following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), local and national attention has once again focused on the states as the arenas where implementation of – and opposition to – the law will play out. For uninsured individuals and families who hope to gain from the expanded coverage provided for under the law starting in 2014, the initial response in many states may not have been encouraging. But in the face of this predictable response from opponents, responsible state legislative leaders from around the nation have also been speaking out.
The initial news last week was that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And though that remains true, discussion has increasingly focused on the one limitation the Court put on the law. While the ACA required all states to expand Medicaid eligibility to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL) – about $30,000 for a family of four – in order to receive any federal Medicaid funds, the Court ruled that only funds for the expansion itself could be withheld. The practical effect of the limitation was to make it optional for states to expand Medicaid to all Americans at or below 133% FPL.
Immediately following today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, leading state legislators from across the nation are already pledging to continue implementing the provisions of the law as fully and quickly as possible, as the focus of health care reform once again returns to the states.
Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have separately adopted at least one of the consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act as state law. No matter what the Supreme Court decides about the federal law, consumers in those 48 states continue to have at least some protection from the abusive practices of health insurance companies.