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Health Care and You: Why How We Pay For Health Care Affects Our Lives and How To Improve It

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Introduction 

Health care is really important for people with disabilities. Without health care in the community, people with disabilities will live worse lives. 

A lot of people with disabilities need government programs to help us pay for health care and stay healthy. For example, Medicaid is a program in the United States that helps people pay for health care. Every state in the United States has a Medicaid program. Lots of people with disabilities use Medicaid. A lot of people with disabilities also use Medicare – another government program which pays for health care. It helps mostly older people and some people with disabilities. 

Other people with disabilities have private health insurance. The government still needs to make sure that we can get the health care we need without being discriminated against. We will talk about laws and regulations that help make sure we are treated fairly.

ASAN thinks that everyone should have the right to good health care, including people with disabilities. We created this page and its key issue pages to tell you what you need to know about health care for people with disabilities and the laws, regulations, and policies that protect us. Each key issue page covers an important subject related to health care that disability rights advocates need your help with. 

Key Laws 

The Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act is a law that was passed in 2010. People call it the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Some people also call it Obamacare, because Barack Obama was the President who helped make the law. “Obamacare” and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are the same thing. 

The ACA made it easier for people to get health insurance. It also made health insurance more fair. The section “The Affordable Care Act: What It Is And Why It Should Be Protected” will talk a lot more about the ACA. 

The Social Security Act is a law that created government programs. These programs mostly help older people or people who do not have much money. These programs keep many people with disabilities alive. One of the programs the Social Security Act created is the Medicaid program. The section “Medicaid: Health and Services in the Community” will talk a lot more about Medicaid.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a law that protects our privacy rights. It makes it so that no one can look at information about our health without our consent. 

Key Regulations 

Regulations are rules that government agencies make. Some important health care regulations are: 

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act has regulations that explain what counts as health care discrimination. They also say that health care information needs to be readable and accessible to people with disabilities. 

The HIPAA Privacy Rule and the HIPAA Security Rule are regulations which explain to providers how to protect your privacy. The Privacy Rule explains when health care providers can give other people your health care information. The Security Rule explains how health care providers have to protect your health care information when they put it into a computer. 

State Medicaid program regulations explain how Medicaid works in a specific state. The regulations in each state are different. Every state makes its own decisions. ASAN wants regulations that are fair from state to state. We want to make sure states cover enough things. People with disabilities should be able to get a lot of different services and supports covered–whatever we need. 

ASAN Toolkits and Resources on Health Care

ASAN Position Statements and Work on Health Care

ASAN Action Alerts on Health Care

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