On June 25, 2015, the Supreme Court handed down a historic ruling for King v. Burwell. At stake in this case were an estimated 6.4 million Americans in 34 states that would have lost federal subsidies for health insurance. The 6-3 decision of the Court upheld federal subsidies for state sponsored exchanges. This is monumental for the 34 states receiving federal subsidies for their insurance exchanges!
The idea that 6.4 million Americans could have lost federal subsidies for health insurance seemed absolutely unfathomable. I have witnessed the positive impact of the Affordable Care Act in California since it was signed into law in 2010. A major component of the Affordable Care Act is widening the eligibility for subsidized medical care. These subsidies were once limited to the poorest of the poor. But now, with wider eligibility, more Americans are able to secure healthcare and lead healthier lives. As a result, government agencies must get into gear to update processes, upgrade technology and reorganize staff and workflows to meet demand.
With more recipients of subsidized healthcare, the government agencies that deliver these services must expand their infrastructures to have the capacity to provide all eligible clients with a quality experience. Such expansion is already happening in county health and human services agencies in California through lobby modernization, online appointment booking systems and the implementation of data driven management techniques to optimize allocation of time and resources. It’s up to counties to continue this momentum to deliver services to existing and newly eligible clients.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Affordable Care Act, The New York Times has put together an excellent compilation of information.