Tom Joseph, Public News Service-PA
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Some 2.7 million Pennsylvanians with pre-existing medical conditions have a new safety net as part of the Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, according to a just-released report by Families USA.
Executive Director Ron Pollack says his group's study demonstrates how the ruling will protect huge numbers of state residents under age 65 when new regulations take effect in 2014.
"That includes more than 315,000 people in Philadelphia County, more than 264,000 people in Allegheny County, and almost 132,000 people in Bucks County."
Pollack says pre-existing conditions rise with age among Pennsylvanians, affecting just under half of state residents 55 to 64 years old.
Pollack says the report found that hurdles for those with pre-existing conditions remained even if they were covered by their insurers.
"If they did provide health-care coverage, they charged a higher discriminatory premium. They often excluded clinical treatments that are specifically focused on that pre-existing health condition."
Pollack says their study's conclusion is direct, with wide effect.
"The Affordable Care Act stops this discrimination and opens the door to quality coverage for all people with pre-existing health conditions across the country."
Opponents to ACA say the individual-mandate element forces people into a marketplace and requires them to buy a product, an objection in effect overruled by the Supreme Court.
See the full report at familiesusa2.org.