FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2012
Adriana Godoy Leiss, TCWF
TCWF President and CEO Diana Bontá Commends U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Constitutionality of The Affordable Care Act
Woodland Hills, CA – Diana M. Bontá, R.N., Dr.P.H., president and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF), lauded the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act — the historic legislation that will expand access to affordable, quality health care for Americans regardless of age, income or pre-existing conditions.
"I am heartened that the Affordable Care Act will be allowed to take effect — with all of its opportunities and potential for improvement in health care services," Bontá said. "We are happy that we can now move forward to maximize the benefits for California, and be able to implement a program that expands coverage to more people, protects consumers and works towards implementing prevention programs that will improve health outcomes."
Bontá pointed out that California has taken the lead in embracing the new options, benefits and consumer protections created as a result of the Affordable Care Act. This includes coverage for more than:
- 10,000 Californians who were denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions;
- 400,000 low-income Californians who now have Medi-Cal coverage;
- 350,000 young adults who are now insured through their parent's coverage; and
- 315,000 seniors who now receive assistance in helping to pay for their prescription drugs.
"However, we know the work is not done," Bontá said.
The California Wellness Foundation believes that funders and other stakeholders still need to support those at the state level who are working to implement the new system of care to ensure that those who are poor, those working in low-wage jobs with no health benefits, and those who are unemployed — all benefit from the law.
"When we take care of the most vulnerable, we all benefit," Bontá said. "We will continue our support of safety net providers; we will continue our support of advocates working to ensure that the system is accessible and meaningful; and where we can, we will work with others to maximize resources to help to ensure a robust accessible health care system for the most vulnerable in California."
Since the act was signed into law in March 2010, TCWF has made grants in several areas to address implementation. For instance, 125 grants totaling $22.3 million have been made to safety net organizations such as community clinics and public hospitals that are part of the health care safety net.
Bontá said she thinks about a family friend who died a year ago after initially receiving treatment at a hospital for asthma. His lack of health insurance benefits delayed his purchase of ongoing medications that ultimately contributed to his death at 29 years of age.
"Nobody should have to go through this," said Bontá. "No family should have to lose a child in this manner. The Affordable Care Act will help to ensure that there is more access to health care, health education and prevention services."
The California Wellness Foundation is a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. The Foundation, one of the first health funders in California, prioritizes eight issues for funding: diversity in the health professions, environmental health, healthy aging, mental health, teenage pregnancy prevention, violence prevention, women's health and work and health. It also responds to timely issues and special projects outside the funding priorities.
Since its founding in 1992, TCWF has awarded 6,544 grants totaling more than $815 million. Please visit TCWF's website at CalWellness.org for more information.
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