Op-Ed: ACA Improves the Lives of People with Disabilities

The Arc of Indiana was established in 1956 by parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who joined together to build a better and more accepting world for their children. Through The Arc of Indiana Foundation’s Erskine Green Training Institute (EGTI), The Arc is committed to providing vocational and life skills training to people with disabilities that provides a pathway to employment. Over 80% of EGTI graduates go on to find meaningful employment.  Access to quality healthcare, including through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is an important component to ensuring people with disabilities are a vital part of the workforce.

The ACA has and continues to make an important impact in the lives of people with disabilities and their families. Studies have shown that people who have access to comprehensive and affordable health insurance are more likely to receive the prescription drugs, therapies, and medical treatment they need to be healthy and maintain the ability to be part of the community.

People with I/DD often have multiple health conditions and are at risk of developing secondary disabilities without quality health care. Numerous ACA provisions related to both acute care and long-term services hold great promise for improving the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities.

The ACA contains significant nondiscrimination provisions and improvements to the Medicaid long term services and support system that are critical to meeting the needs of people with I/DD. Critical protections include disallowing insurance companies from charging people higher rates due to their health conditions, denying insurance coverage of people with I/DD, and limiting coverage of needed health care treatments, services and supports.

The ACA also saves taxpayers money because it ensures that individuals have access to health care and will prevent costly hospitalizations and institutionalizations that occur when individuals forego treatment. Investments in health care and home and community-based services will improve health and reduce dependence on costly institutions. Investments in improving public health and coverage of prevention services will also save money by reducing the cost of treating health conditions that could have been prevented.

The ACA works to protect all of us by providing quality healthcare and associated services.

We urge Indiana’s members of Congress and President Trump to keep at top of mind how the ACA improves the lives of people with disabilities, including assisting them in being part of the workforce, and take all actions necessary to protect and continue this critical program.