March 19, 2013


What’s in the Name – The Affordable Care Act?

By Lorraine Gonzalez-Camastra, Children’s Defense Fund – New York

The reference to the question, “What’s in a name?”, quoted in the Shakespearean classic, Romeo and Juliet, probes the significance of a surname and family lineage when it comes to measuring someone’s character.  The idea is to suggest that a name is of little to no significance, or, at least, that’s the hope that Juliet speaks when asking this question.  Conversely, children’s healthcare advocates uphold the opposite position when it comes to The Affordable Care Act (ACA) – named law in 2010.  This law was passed to in the spirit of offering children and families reasonably-priced, comprehensive access health services.

In reaching the third anniversary of the ACA’s passage, states are executing provisions of the law.  In executing the ACA, the spirit by which it was created serves as the litmus test for success in its administration.  It is of critical importance that what manifests does not fall short of the law’s spirit – to successfully enroll and retain consumers in health insurance plans in order to grant all Americans access to health care.  Children and families are a large part of this consumer pool.

Creating a Child- and Family-Friendly Health Insurance Exchange through ACA implementation can be realized as states leverage the existing provisions of the law in combination with the lessons learned from the existing framework for coverage.  Specifically, in New York State, it’s critical that officials seize this moment and not scale back in investing in exchange infrastructure that offers robust outreach and education, secures a seamless enrollment pathway, eliminates coverage gaps and churning and adopts a benefit package that offers optimal care for consumers.  In accomplishing these objectives, the progressive Empire State will uphold the name of The Affordable Care Act for all children and families.

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