Health Reform Today: AOTA’s Work After the Supreme Court Decision
Now that the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the Supreme Court it remains the law of the land and will continue to reshape the country’s health care system. While the high court’s decision ends that chapter in the battle over health reform the fight goes on related to state-by-state implementation and AOTA is actively engaged on behalf of occupational therapy.
In order to take advantage of the success AOTA had in influencing the federal law to support coverage of rehabilitation and habilitation, we must consider critical next steps. Making the most of the opportunities for occupational therapy created by the inclusion of rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices and behavioral health treatment as required categories of essential health benefits is a task that now shifts to AOTA in conjunction with affiliated state associations. AOTA is working diligently to continue to influence the Department of Health and Human Services at the federal level as they issue regulations and implementation guidance to states but AOTA is also working to educate and empower state association leaders in regard to how they can work to influence implementation of health reform in their state. AOTA has hired the consulting firm Stateside Associates to help monitor healthcare reform implementation activities at the state level. We will be identifying the key policy makers and opportunities to advocate for occupational therapy.
AOTA continues to work to support implementation of the many aspects of the law that benefit occupational therapy and the clients we serve. The elimination of denials for pre-existing conditions (known as the “guaranteed issue” provision), expanded health coverage for as many as 30 million Americans through the exchanges and expansion of Medicaid, the prohibition of annual and lifetime benefit caps, the prohibition of coverage rescissions, and the assurance of coverage for essential health benefits all hold great promise for access to and coverage of occupational therapy.
From the beginning, AOTA’s work on the Affordable Care Act has been an effort to maximize opportunity for the profession under the law. The Supreme Court’s decision makes all that work even more worthwhile and helps move the profession toward achievement of the Centennial Vision where we see occupational therapy as a powerful, widely recognized, science-driven, and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society’s occupational needs. Together AOTA, your State Associations and all of us can achieve great things.
Watch the latest update video from AOTA's Tim Nanof and Jennifer Hitchon.