By Peter Coolsen, Cook County Illinois Circuit Court
- the scope and essential features of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how the ACA can help the state courts; and
- steps to take to get the most out of the ACA when addressing the needs of human trafficking victims
This chapter of the HT Guide explores how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) presents a significant opportunity for victims of human trafficking. The primary mechanism in the Affordable Care Act that holds promise for trafficking victims is the expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults, along with significant subsidies for lower income individuals who do not quality for expanded Medicaid. The pivotal resource in the Affordable Care Act, particularly relevant for victims of human trafficking, is the Behavioral Health Care Component. While the ACA provides new opportunities for many Americans, it will have a dramatic impact on formerly uninsured, low income adults and, in particular, on justice-involved individuals. Victims of human sex trafficking fall into most of these categories and, as they often have significant medical and behavioral health care problems; the Affordable Care Act represents a very valuable resource for them. State courts, which regularly come into contact with victims of human trafficking, can play a unique role in affecting public policy and in assisting victims in getting access to and utilizing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.