Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled today to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by a vote of 5 to 4. This historic decision ensures that affordable health coverage will be made available to millions of Americans, including nearly 8 million children who will be eligible for dental coverage through the state health insurance exchanges free of annual and lifetime caps.

In addition to including pediatric oral health care in the essential health benefits package provided by insurance plans in the exchanges, the ACA includes nearly two dozen provisions that aim to improve the oral health of all Americans. The ACA truly represents an integrated and strategic plan to address oral health through prevention and health promotion, coverage and financing, workforce and training, infrastructure and surveillance, and an improved oral health safety net.

With regard to Medicaid, the Court did not strike down the law's expansion of the program but instead ruled that it would remain as an option for states to extend Medicaid benefits to adults at or below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), including dental benefits for states that choose to cover them. However, states will not face a penalty if they opt not to expand their adult Medicaid coverage to the levels established by the ACA.

While many of the public health provisions await funding, President Obama and Congress clearly recognized that dental disease remains a silent epidemic in America, especially among children and can only be eliminated by improving upon the entire oral health system. CDHP looks forward to working closely with champions of children's health in Congress to fully realize the ACA's promise of better oral and overall health for all Americans.

To read Court's full opinion in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius and Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, click here.

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