Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Affordable Care Act
Yesterday, June 29, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals based out of Ohio ruled that the individual mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act was constitutional. In the final opinion, a conservative and a liberal judge joined forces to write “that the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause.”
This was the first of three decisions expected to come out of federal circuit courts of appeal that touch on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Federal judges in Florida and Virginia have ruled that the law is unconstitutional. Those cases are currently under appeal before the Fourth and Eleventh Circuits. Regardless, it is likely that the ACA will come before the U.S. Supreme Court as early as this year.
HHS Seeks to Improve Minority Data Collection in Public Health Surveys
This week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would work to improve data collection of various under-served populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and LGBT individuals. Their efforts come as the agency works toward full implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the need to address persistent health disparities that exist within these communities. The agency is seeking public comment on its proposed methods of data collection until August 1.
Read the agency’s fact sheet on Improving Data Collection for the LGBT Community here »
Justice Department Settles HIV Discrimination Claim
On Tuesday, June 28, the Department of Justice executed a Settlement Agreement with the corporation American Laser Centers to resolve an allegation of discrimination based on HIV status. Many people living with HIV/AIDS are unaware that they are protected from discrimination in care, housing, and employment under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a result, the Justice Department handles very few cases of HIV-related discrimination each year. It is critical that we work to education all PWAs of their rights and the legal protections available to them.
If you feel that you have been discriminated against, please contact David W. Knight with the Disability Rights Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at (202) 616-2110.
Congressional Budget Battle
The nation is approximately one month away from the deadline to raise our national debt limit or risk default, and Congress continues its negotiations around deficit reduction and spending cuts. There has been little progress however, as Republicans continue to push for reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, while ruling out any tax increases. In fact, the number two Republican in the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) backed out of negotiation, claiming that Democrats continued to urge both spending cuts and tax hikes, which he could never support.
As Medicare and Medicaid are the largest providers of care to Americans living with HIV/AIDS, this debate could have a major impact on our nation’s response to the epidemic and ability to care for those living with the disease. NMAC will continue to monitor the debate surrounding raising the debt limit and will update its constituents on any critical developments.
Read CQ HealthBeat’s story on the effect cuts to Medicaid would have to people living with HIV/AIDS here »
National HIV Testing Day
Monday, June 27th was the 17th annual National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), a day which encourages HIV testing and early detection of HIV/AIDS. The theme of this year’s NHTD was “take the test, take control.” Founded in 1995 in response to the epidemic’s alarming growth, especially among marginalized and minority communities, NHTD is an annual observance promoting not just testing, but awareness about HIV/AIDS and how to prevent infection and protect your health.
Read NMAC’s press release on NHTD here »
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) builds leadership within communities of color to address challenges of HIV/AIDS. Since 1987, NMAC has advanced this mission through a variety of programs and services, including: a public policy education program, national and regional training conferences, a treatment and research program, numerous publications and a website: http://www.nmac.org/.
Today, NMAC is an association of AIDS service organizations providing valuable information to community-based organizations, hospitals, clinics and other groups assisting individuals and families affected by the AIDS epidemic. NMAC’s advocacy efforts are funded through private funders and donors only.
For more information, contact NMAC directly at (202) 483-NMAC (6622) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About NMAC on the Hill
NMAC wants to make sure that our constituents are up to date on the latest activities in Congress and around Washington, DC that affect HIV/AIDS programs, funding, and the broader movement. To accomplish this, we will be sending regular updates on legislation, meetings and other happenings in the nation’s capital to keep you informed on what matters to our community.
Visit the agency online at http://www.nmac.org/
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