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The Arc Participates in Amicus Brief in Virginia v. Sebelius Case

Advocates Press to Protect Americans from Frivolous Lawsuits from Insurance Co. Abuse

The Arc of the United States (The Arc), the nation’s oldest and largest advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, joined with other disability and disease‐specific organizations to support the arguments of the United States in opposing the Commonwealth of Virginia’s legal challenge to the constitutionality of the new health reform law.

People with disabilities are often denied health coverage because of their pre‐existing conditions. Developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disability, autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy, originate in childhood and constitute pre‐existing conditions for purposes of access to health insurance coverage. Without the new health care reforms, these disabilities can mean the loss of health coverage, resulting in economic hardship and bankruptcy for a family, and huge uncompensated care costs for the system, which will be borne by those who have coverage.

The recently enacted health reform law, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act), offers people and their families the promise that they will be able to access affordable, nondiscriminatory health care coverage. The Arc believes this helps all Americans and that these protections must remain in place.

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will finally open the doors to health insurance coverage for many of our constituents. Many of our family members have had vital health coverage denied to them due to their child’s pre‐existing disability. It is disconcerting that litigation to remove this critical protection is already being pursued,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.

The Arc joined with more than a dozen other advocacy groups in its statement to the courts to protect patients and keep health law intact, including The March of Dimes Foundation, The American Association of People with Disabilities, Breast Cancer Action, Friends of Cancer Research, and the National Women’s Law Center.

Virginia’s Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli filed suit against U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. No monetary damages or awards are being sought. Specifically, Virginia challenged the minimum coverage provisions which require that individuals maintain health coverage. Experience in several states has shown that it is necessary to require minimum individual coverage in order to successfully eliminate insurance company use of pre‐existing exclusions for coverage.

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Disease and Disability Groups to Hold Media Conference Call on Amicus Brief Supporting Health Reform Law in Virginia Case

Washington, DC – On Thursday, June 17 at 11:00 a.m., leading disease and disabilities advocacy groups are expected to file a formal amicus brief defending the need for the health reform law’s minimum coverage provision being challenged by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia.

The March of Dimes Foundation, The American Association of People with Disabilities, The Arc of the United States, Breast Cancer Action, Families USA, Family Violence Prevention Fund, Friends of Cancer Research, Mental Health America, National Breast Cancer Coalition, National Organization for Rare Disorders, National Patient Advocate Foundation, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Senior Citizens Law Center, National Women’s Law Center, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need, and United Cerebral Palsy have all signed on to the brief, which is expected to be filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Thursday.

Representatives from these groups will hold a media conference call to discuss the brief and the necessity of standing in opposition of frivolous lawsuits that undermine the new health law’s protections from insurance company abuses on THURSDAY, JUNE 17 at 11:00 am via Teleconference.

Who: Ian Millhiser, Attorney for the Amici; Marty Ford, The Arc of the United States and United Cerebral Palsy; Fran Visco, National Breast Cancer Coalition; Portia Wu, National Partnership for Women & Families; and Chris Jennings, National Organization for Rare Disorders

What: Discussing their opposition to frivolous lawsuits that threaten the minimum coverage provision and the new health law’s protections from insurance company abuses.

When: Thursday, June 17, 11:00 a.m. ET