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County of Santa Clara Applauds Supreme Court Decision on Affordable Health Care Act

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.—Today, the County of Santa Clara officials expressed relief and delight about the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the major provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act.
 “This is a great and historic day and we are thrilled with the Supreme Court decision,” said Supervisor Liz Kniss, Chair of the County Santa Clara Board of Supervisors’ Health and Hospital Committee. “This means provisions in the legislation such as coverage for pre-existing conditions, elimination of arbitrary benefit caps, and inclusion of standard prevention appointments with your doctor will be covered. Thousands of uninsured county residents will now have access to affordable coverage.”
There are about 220,000 people in Santa Clara County who are uninsured, and about 138,000 will be covered under the Affordable Care Act.  Sixty-five percent (90,000) are likely to benefit from the California Health Benefit Exchange. The remaining 48,000 individuals likely will be eligible under the expansion of Medicaid Coverage.
“The County of Santa Clara has always supported expanding coverage to the uninsured and we’ve done well in covering more people through our Low Income Health Program, which is called Valley Care,” said President George Shirakawa, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors.  “It’s the right thing to do.”
All hospitals are required by law to provide health care to uninsured residents during emergencies.  During fiscal year 2012, the County spent $95 million to provide health care to the uninsured residents. Now, many people let disease and illness progress to the point that they need expensive emergency room care. In 2014, when the Affordable Care Act goes into full effect this amount will significantly decrease.  There will be more incentive for preventive health measures.
“We already have about 10,400 people signed up, but with estimates that there are another 48,000 folks in our county who are uninsured and will be eligible for Medi-Cal under the Medicaid Coverage Expansion,” said René Santiago, Deputy County Executive for the Health & Hospital System.  “Because of our foresight, especially by the Board of Supervisors, the investments needed to successfully serve this increase in insured clients, have been and are being made.”
 “Today’s Supreme Court is a historic ruling that will help ensure that millions of Americans have access to timely, affordable and high quality health care services,” County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith. “This is definitely a step in the right direction.  Our hope is that all uninsured County residents opt for enrollment.”
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Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119
Posted: June 28, 2012