As the CEO of L.A. Care Health Plan, the largest publicly operated health plan in the country, I am deeply disappointed by two decisions this week by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) – one that will deny an individual’s right to choose whether to carry out a pregnancy and another that threatens the safety of every American.
This morning, by a majority vote, the high court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision in which Justices ruled that the Constitution of the United States generally protects an individual’s freedom to have an abortion. After nearly 50 years, today SCOTUS has ruled that there is no longer that federal constitutional right. Going forward, abortion rights will be determined by the states. Twenty-two states have indicated they intend to ban or severely limit abortion…but everyone knows such limits won’t put an end to abortions in those states.
In 2002, California passed a law that guaranteed a person’s right to choose. L.A. Care suspects many will have to travel to California and other states that have protected access to abortion. LA. Care fears that those who are not able to travel to one of these states will risk their lives with a “back-alley” procedure. These are more likely to be low-income people of color, which will only exacerbate the already existing health disparities. It’s unconscionable that SCOTUS has stripped millions of people of their fundamental constitutional right to make decisions (including medical ones) about their own bodies. How many people will be harmed because of this ruling?
Yesterday, SCOTUS also struck down a long-standing New York law that placed strict limits on carrying guns outside of one’s home. In the six to three decision, the Justices ruled that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home. This ruling is particularly concerning in the wake of hundreds of mass shootings each year. L.A. Care’s Board of Governors recently approved a resolution making it clear that gun violence is a public health crisis. Loosening gun safety laws is only going to worsen that crisis.
L.A. Care is committed to advancing health equity, and both decisions by the SCOTUS threaten that goal. L.A. Care urges Congress to act on national protections for the right to an abortion and on a national law to put strict limits on concealed weapons. L.A. Care will continue to engage in activities that support access to health care and health equity for our more than 2.5 million members.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.5 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.