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NORD and Advocacy Partners Submit Amicus Brief

NORD and advocacy partners submit amicus brief on Affordable Care Act's minimum coverage provision.

On January 11, 2012, NORD submitted an Amicus Curiae or 'Friends of the Court' brief in support of upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, (health care reform), along with thirteen other national patient advocacy organizations, including Friends of Cancer Research, the March of Dimes Foundation, and others. The brief maintains that the minimum coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act lies broadly within Congress' constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce. The brief also supports that minimum coverage is essential to allow for a functional health care marketplace that offers protections for persons with pre-existing conditions. These protections include guaranteed issue, limitations to denial of benefits, and ending both annual and lifetime caps on benefits.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, or health care reform, contains an important provision that bars issuers of health insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions by refusing them participation in the health care coverage marketplace. Until health care reform was enacted into law, health insurance companies could freely cherry pick the healthiest people in a given state's insurance market, denying eligibility to participate to people with pre-existing conditions, including many with rare diseases. Patients faced a Hobson's choice between foregoing care at their own risk, or paying for care out of pocket, often at such high costs as to deplete whatever resources the family has as they seek to care for themselves and their loved ones.

Thankfully the Affordable Care Act has rightly fixed this problem that existed in the health care marketplace . However, as you may know, the ultimate fate of this important legislation and the progress it has accomplished is still uncertain. The Affordable Care Act remains under threat of judicial overturn, with a decision from the Supreme Court expected this spring.

NORD is proud to join the other thirteen organizations in submitting this amicus brief in support of all people with pre-existing conditions in the United States, many of whom having rare diseases. Read the brief.

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