The Venice Family Clinic – the largest free medical clinic in the country – hailed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Thursday to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"By affirming the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court has ensured that hard-working Californians from all walks of life will have access to health insurance and health care services," said Elizabeth Benson Forer, executive director of the Venice Family Clinic in a statement. "The impact on our patients is extraordinary: over half of the 25,000 patients we see each year at Venice Family Clinic will have access to Medicaid in 2014. For many, they will now have the chance to receive regular, covered primary care for the first time in their lives."
The court's 5-4 ruling to uphold the constitutionality of the act will expand access to Medicaid and health insurance for 2.7 million uninsured people in Los Angeles County. The Venice Family Clinic already has been a recipient of federal money under the act and the court's ruling solidifies its funding.
The Health and Human Services Department last week announced that a $975,000 grant had been awarded to the Venice Family Clinic as part of the Affordable Care Act. The law provides $9.5 billion over five years to expand services and $1.5 billion to support major construction and renovation projects nationwide at community health centers, such as the Venice Family Clinic.
The $975,000 grant will allow the clinic to increase services to an additional 4,000 poor men, women and children with 25 percent of the new patients being homeless.
The Venice Family Clinic was among 12 community medical centers across Los Angeles County that received $6.8 million in grants. The funding was part of $128.6 million in Affordable Care Act grants announced last week for 219 community health centers across the country.
The Venice Family Clinic was founded in 1970 by physicians Phillip Rossman and Mayer B. Davidson and has expanded to eight sites in Venice, Santa Monica, Mar Vista and Culver City. The clinic annually serves about 25,000 patients primarily from the Westside and 97 percent are poor and nearly 75 percent lack insurance.
“With 7 million uninsured residents in California and 2.7 million people in Los Angeles County alone with no heath insurance, the Court’s decision means California can move forward with fully implementing the Affordable Care Act and providing a health care system that truly works for all Californians," Forer said in a statement. "We thank President Obama for his leadership on this issue and applaud the Supreme Court for upholding the fact that health care is not a political or social issue — it’s a basic human right.”