Molly Forrest, CEO and president of the Los Angeles Jewish Home, had surgery to alleviate arthritis in her neck in December 2010.
Stuck in bed for 35 days, she read the entire Affordable Care Act – all 2,080 pages of it. She has since read it again so she knows it well, and she takes it personally.
“If I were unemployed now, I would not be able to get insurance, and I’m not old enough for Medicare,” Forrest remembers thinking after her surgery.
The Supreme Court’s decision today to uphold the law “settles a 100 year debate about whether access to health care is a right that each American has,” Forrest said.
The 1,000 elderly clients who live at the Jewish Home in Reseda, as well as the 1,500 non-residents it serves and the employees the organization insures all will benefit from the law as implementation goes forward, she said.
“Seventy-five percent of our clients rely on welfare programs to support whatever care they receive, and so anything that threatens or affects Medicaid or Medi-Cal dollars is of enormous concern and importance to us,” Forrest said.
Forrest said she supports the one adjustment to the law the court made—prohibiting the Federal government from withholding Medicaid funds from states that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act.
“We already face such enormous challenges with funding programs for the needy in this state, that for us the decisions of the Supreme Court at least removes the threat that the Federal government could penalize the state in any way for not fully complying with the Affordable Care Act,” Forrest said.
Forrest sees many benefits in the law.
Not only will those with preexisting conditions not be denied coverage now, she said, but the law prohibits insurers from charging highly elevated premiums to those with complicated conditions. This will help many disabled adults get private insurance, she said, since previously their pre-existing conditions either shut them out of insurance or made it entirely unaffordable.
She also sees much benefit in removing insurers’ lifetime cap and the annual cap, and in allowing children to stay on parents’ plans through age 26.
“I think there are a lot of good things here,” she said. “I know there is a lot of controversy around this, but this is America, and I think in the end this will work out and American will be better for it. I know the health of American will be better for it.”