The Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act Ruling is Good for Senior Citizens

The U.S. Supreme Court case Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services, which challenged the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been covered heavily by mainstream and online media outlets. The Court heard arguments on the case in a historical three day session March 26-28, 2012.

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the individual mandate and most provisions of the Affordable Care Act. A federal penalty on states not cooperating with the Medicaid expansion provision of the law was deemed unconstitutional, but Chief Justice John Roberts gave Congress a constitutional antidote with his opinion.

While most news outlets have focused on the political outcome of the Court’s decision, they have failed to cover an issue that genuinely matters to a large portion of Americans:  how the ruling affects the lives of senior citizens. Had the Court overturned the law in its entirety, senior citizens would have lost many benefits.

Under the law, Medicare recipients are entitled to a free annual physical and can receive screenings for colorectal cancer and breast cancer without paying a deductible or co-pay.

One of the most popular aspects of the health-care reform bill is the Money Follows the Person program (MFP). With MFP, Medicaid will provide funding for alternative living options for adults that require assisted living. It is with this benefit that seniors can enjoy comfortable, familiar, environments rather than being forced to live in a nursing home. New York is one of 43 states participating in the Money Follows the Person program.

The law also strengthens the Medicare Trust Fund making it solvent through 2029.

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