Who’s Positive Joins Lambda Legal in Support of Affordable Care Act
Posted Mar 15 2012 9:27pm
Who’s Positive Joins Lambda Legal in Support of Affordable Care Act U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument at the end of March
(Charlottesville, Virginia, March 15, 2012) — Today, Who’s Positive joined over 130 HIV and health care advocacy organizations by endorsing Lambda Legal’s friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as the ACA.
“In order to become the generation which ends AIDS, we must be a society that is willing to accept change for the betterment of that society. We can’t accept the status quo. We must find ways to continue to support those living with HIV/AIDS and we must do it NOW!” says Tom Donohue, Founding Director of Who’s Positive.
In March of 2010, the ACA was signed into law, reforming aspects of the private health insurance industry and expanding access to health insurance for millions of Americans. The constitutionality of the law was immediately challenged in federal court in multiple jurisdictions. In January, 2012 Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief highlighting the crucial link between the ACA and the ability to curtail the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic. The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in several cases challenging the constitutionality of the law the week of March 26, 2012.
Who’s Positive has joined Lambda Legal in supporting the federal government’s position that the ACA’s minimum coverage requirement (also known as the individual mandate) is constitutional under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause.
“The list of supporters for our brief urging the Court to uphold the ACA continues to grow because of the law’s enormous potential to impact the domestic AIDS epidemic,” said Scott Schoettes, HIV Project Director for Lambda Legal. “By signing on to the statement of support, organizations across the nation have affirmed the demonstrable effect the ACA will have on reducing rates of transmission and increasing prevention education, early detection, and access to quality care for everyone living with HIV.”
When the ACA was enacted, only 17% of Americans with HIV had private health insurance. In the individual insurance market, people living with HIV are generally considered “uninsurable” and are routinely rejected when they apply for coverage because they have a pre-existing condition. Even when these individuals find an insurance company to cover them, most states have no rating limits, allowing insurers to charge prohibitively expensive premiums. The ACA is designed to address this problem by eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions and requiring that everyone acquire health insurance.
Lambda Legal’s HIV Project Director, Scott Schoettes, and Director of Constitutional Litigation, Susan Sommer, are joined as counsel on the brief by Ropes & Gray LLP attorneys Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, Bradley Grossman, Brendon Carrington, and Jacob Heller.
The following organizations are listed as signatories in the amicus brief filed at the U.S. Supreme Court: AIDS United, Asian and Pacific-Islander
Coalition on HIV/AIDS (APICHA), Black AIDS Institute, Center for HIV Law and Policy, Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), HIV Prevention Justice Alliance (HIV PJA), Latino Commission on AIDS, National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), National Native American AIDS Prevention Center (NNAAPC), U.S. Positive Women’s Network/WORLD, and Treatment Access Expansion Project (TAEP).
Who's Positive, a national HIV/AIDS awareness organization is committed to raising the awareness of HIV and its consequences. Our organization foregrounds the reality of living with HIV through the first-hand accounts of those coping with the disease. Who's Positive strives to remind the public that this is a virus with no cure. Through the stories of those living with HIV, Who's Positive hopes to reduce the transmission of HIV among teens and young adults - a population with one of the fastest growing infection rates. ###