Supreme Court upholds National Health Care Reform Law
The United States Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the national health care reform law – known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) – to extend health care insurance to millions of Americans without coverage. In addition, the law put in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that take effect over time. Almost as soon as the president signed the bill, those opposed to it began legal action, arguing that the law violates the U.S. Constitution.
Twenty-six states, led by Florida, and the National Federation of Independent Business, pursued legal action against the federal government over this law. The state of New Jersey was not a party to these law suits.
Those legal challenges worked their way through the courts to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court issued its opinion to substantially uphold the Affordable Care Act.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision is welcome news for all Americans who are without health insurance now and who will be able to obtain coverage beginning in 2014 – including one million New Jerseyans,” said Virtua President & CEO Richard P. Miller.
The central challenge to the law focused on this question: Did Congress overstep its powers when it passed the “individual mandate” requiring most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty? A majority of the Court, five justices of the nine, found that this provision is constitutional. As a result, the law’s other major provisions remain intact, including a requirement that health care plans offer coverage to individuals who have pre-existing conditions and a provision that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26.
The Court took exception to one provision of the health care reform law that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. These new eligibility requirements would open Medicaid to more people. In its decision, the Court limited the federal government's ability to penalize states by withholding Medicaid funds. The provision is constitutional, they ruled, as long as states would only lose new funds if they did not comply with the new requirements, rather than lose all of their funding.
“The Supreme Court’s decision today reinforces the direction that we have set for Virtua,” Miller commented.
“We know that, in order to meet the needs of the patients and communities that we serve, we must continue to transform the way we deliver care to our customers by providing the services that they need when and where they need it,” Miller explained. “Our goal is to provide a coordinated continuum of care that may start in physician offices and include ambulatory services, diagnostics, emergency services, acute inpatient care, rehabilitation and long-term care, and home health.”
Miller added that, most importantly, "we want people to think of Virtua as a resource that can help them be healthy through a variety of health, wellness and fitness offerings as well as preventive services, while Virtua is also the health care system of choice when people are sick or injured."
He noted that Virtua planned and designed all of its new facilities in recent years with these goals in mind – from the opening of Virtua’s first Health and Wellness Center in Voorhees some years ago, to the Washington Township facility that opened in 2010, to the design of the new Voorhees Hospital campus that opened last year, to our latest project in Moorestown that will open by the end of this year.
“In short, we want Virtua to help each person, from newborns to seniors, with his or her unique health needs,” concluded Miller. “At the same time, we must continually work to achieve the highest safety and quality in all of the services that we provide, and we will count on Virtua’s employees to be the best in delivering that care.”
As one of New Jersey’s largest health systems, Virtua helps people be well, get well and stay well through a comprehensive range of health care services. Services are delivered through three health and wellness centers, three fitness centers, three acute care hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices with more than 240 physicians, urgent care centers, seven ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 12 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers more than 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,700 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its ground-breaking partnerships with GE Healthcare
, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
and the Fox Chase Cancer Center
. Virtua employs more than 8,400 people and has been honored as the #1 Best Place to Work in the Delaware Valley every year since 2007. It is the recipient of the Consumer Choice Award from the National Research Corporation. For more information, visit www.virtua.org