The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which represents 60,000 pediatricians, stands behind today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 decision. The Court considered four separate components of the law: whether or not its individual mandate is constitutional, whether the mandate is severable from the rest of the law, whether the Affordable Care Act levies a tax that must take effect before being challenged in court, and whether the law's proposed expansion of Medicaid is legal. The Court supported the law’s constitutionality and ruled that its tax does not need to take effect before being challenged in court.
“Today, the Supreme Court upheld a law that invests in children’s health from the ground up,” said AAP President Robert W. Block, MD, FAAP. “The Academy endorsed the Affordable Care Act because it addresses the same ‘A-B-C’ goals that are entrenched in our mission and in our 82 years of child health advocacy: providing all children in this country with Access to health care services, age-appropriate benefits to meet their unique needs, and high-quality, affordable health care Coverage.”
The Academy endorsed the law in 2010 and filed three amici curiae (“friends of the court”) briefs to the Supreme Court in support of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, individual mandate and the mandate’s severability from the rest of the statute.
“Pediatricians have already seen firsthand that health reform works,” said Dr. Block. “Since the Affordable Care Act took effect, millions of children with pre-existing conditions gained health care coverage; 14 million children with private insurance received preventive health services with no co-pay; and 3.1 million more young adults gained coverage through their parents’ plans. These are just a few of the law’s investments in child health, with many more set to take effect over the next few years as affirmed by today’s decision.”
The Academy will continue working with the Administration to ensure that the law’s ongoing implementation continues to benefit children and pediatricians. To date, the Academy has submitted more than 50 comments to Affordable Care Act regulations pertaining to child health.
“Today is one for the history books,” said Dr. Block. “As pediatricians, our number one goal is to keep children healthy, and we can now do so knowing that a landmark law prioritizes children’s health needs and provides them with the access to care, age-appropriate benefits and coverage options they need and deserve.”