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Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Resolution No. 65

WHEREAS:

The enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) represents a major victory for AFSCME members and all workers.  The notion of health care for all was first proposed over seventy years ago.  With the enactment of PPACA it is a reality; and

WHEREAS:
PPACA represents a significant change in the nation’s health care delivery system.  This change will not only affect patients, but the health care providers who care for them; and

WHEREAS:
It is expected that health care coverage will be extended to 32 million people with subsidies for people who can’t afford coverage, tax breaks for small businesses, penalties for large employers who don’t provide coverage and other provisions in the law; and

WHEREAS:
The act establishes a number of consumer protections and opportunities for the expansion of quality health care. These changes have the potential to vastly improve the health care benefits available to AFSCME members. The most important changes include restricting the imposition of annual and lifetime benefit limits; prohibiting the cancellation of benefits; enhancing the coverage of preventative services and eliminating out of pocket payments for such services; extension of dependent coverage to adult children up to age 26; and prohibiting the exclusion of pre-existing conditions from health care coverage; and

WHEREAS:
Financial assistance is available for plan sponsors of health plans covering retirees under age 65; and

WHEREAS:
A national temporary high-risk pool program is available until 2014, when the health insurance exchanges will become operational; and

WHEREAS:
The act protects and improves Medicare by safeguarding benefits and providing enhanced coverage of prescription drugs.  Medicare beneficiaries will not have higher premiums, deductibles, co-payments or other out-of-pocket costs as a result of the act; and

WHEREAS:
The act creates a number of changes and options available in the Medicaid program and other health care programs; and

WHEREAS: 
The act is an excellent first step, but does not create all of the changes we need in the American health care system; and

WHEREAS: 
The new health care law allows states to participate in the federal exchange or establish their own publicly-or privately-administered exchanges. 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
AFSCME and its affiliates will continue to be actively engaged in the implementation of the health care reform policy at both the state and national levels; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
AFSCME shall generally support prompt application of the quality improvement, benefit mandates and coverage extensions in the act to all AFSCME members; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
AFSCME shall work with the plan sponsors of health plans covering pre-age 65 retirees to obtain the subsidies available through the temporary retiree reinsurance program; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
AFSCME will work with its affiliates to ensure that state and local governments maximize their reimbursement for Medicaid administrative and program costs and ensure that any reductions in disproportionate share payments be properly assessed; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
AFSCME and its affiliates will collaborate to access the funding in the Act for workforce programs in order to fully develop our health care workforce and provide opportunities for AFSCME members to enhance their skills and career opportunities; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
AFSCME and its affiliates will seek to ensure through collective bargaining that the administration of state responsibilities required by the health care reform law be performed by public employees.  Public workers are uniquely positioned to provide high quality administration of the new health insurance exchanges; to conduct the new insurance rate regulation process; and to continue to perform eligibility determination of Medicaid and other public programs including the new health insurance subsidy program; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:
AFSCME will continue to fight for reform of the health care system to achieve even greater levels of quality care and control of costs and to eliminate the excise tax on health plans.

 
SUBMITTED BY:  
INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE BOARD