HARTFORD, CT – June 28, 2012 The Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) is extremely pleased with today’s historic Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Millions of Americans, including those who currently lack insurance coverage in Connecticut, can gain access to coverage, with the promise of affordable rates and guaranteed access to coverage when they need it, all of which offer the opportunity to achieve health equity.
“This is an important day that will go down in history as one where justice has prevailed for those Americans who, for the first time, will enjoy good health and a better quality of life – simply because they now have health coverage and can visit a doctor,” said Sanford Cloud, Jr., Chariman of CT Health’s Board of Directors.
The ACA offers expansion of coverage, while recognizing that coverage alone is not sufficient to ensure access to health care and quality health outcomes. The ACA promotes specific health delivery system reforms, such as the person centered medical home (PCMH) and support for prevention to improve quality and control costs. This is of great importance given the research recently released by the Commonwealth Fund, which indicates that coverage coupled with a PCMH can in fact reduce racial and ethnic disparities.
CT Health recognizes and supports the many meaningful components within the ACA that offer the potential for better health outcomes for populations of color that are often overlooked.
“We are excited about these new opportunities and tools for states, providers and community-based organizations to achieve health equity for all populations, said Patricia Baker, President & CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation.
These include efforts that:
- Require measurement of health outcomes and equity – and requirements to collect data and utilize such information to decrease disparities in health outcomes.
- Expand access to preventive care, such as routing check-ups and cancer screenings.
- Promote widespread use of wellness programs, such as tobacco-cessation programs.
- Expand access to coordinated care that is provided by community-based care teams for people with chronic and disabling conditions.
- Set expectations around diversity of the health care workforce and cultural and linguistic competency in provider settings.
- Expand funding for community health centers that provide care in underserved communities.
- End discrimination in health insurance coverage by requiring insurers to cover individuals regardless of their health status or gender.
- Advance the State of Connecticut’s efforts to expand Medicaid with 100% of expenses paid by the federal government for three years and 90% federal matching dollars thereafter.
“These are just a few of the health system improvements that will be implemented and improve the lives of people of color,” according to Baker.
Connecticut already has taken steps to implement many reforms, including a program to reward providers who participate in PCMHs for improving outcomes of care to their HUSKY patients and expanded coverage to adults with low income who do not have children.
Today’s decision bolsters Connecticut’s efforts to move forward with these reforms.
Over the past 12 years, CT Health has awarded grants totaling more than $47 million in 45 cities and towns throughout the state in three priority areas:
Improving access to children’s mental health services
- Reducing racial and ethnic health disparities
- Expanding access to and use of children’s oral health services