Stephen Mikita, J.D., is a Participant Representative on the Steering Committee for All of Us, a National Institutes of Health research study that aims to gather health data from 1 million Americans in order to advance precision medicine. An assistant attorney general for the state of Utah, Mikita makes time to participate in the Steering Committee in order to represent the unique concerns of those with disabilities. He took time to chat recently about his role with the project and his hopes for its ultimate impact.
How do you feel about being included in this historic project and what are your objectives in participating in this effort to build a more inclusive picture of Americans’ health?
I am one of four Participant Representative on the All of Us Steering Committee. This committee oversees all aspects of the program and helps give direction to it. I was selected from among a lot of applicants to be one of the first two—there are now a total of six Participant Representatives on the Steering Committee. I think it speaks well of the All of Us mission and commitment to include diverse Americans, and particularly those of us with disabilities, on the committee. Participants in the All of Us Research Program are treated as true partners. The focus is on capturing data and information to achieve the ambitious goals of precision medicine. One size doesn't fit all.
Last night a federal judge in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional. In this case, the legal challenge to the law was based on the fact that Congress eliminated the penalty for the individual mandate in last year’s tax bill and the Supreme Court had previously ruled that the individual mandate of the ACA was constitutional because it was an exercise of Congress’s taxing authority. With the elimination of the penalty, Republican attorneys general had challenged the law now saying that without the tax the individual mandate must fall and with it, the rest of the ACA.
Two things should be noted about this decision: first, it will almost certainly be appealed and will probably end up at the Supreme Court for a decision. Second, it will have no legal affect while these appeals go through so the ACA marketplace is still open for business. As today is the last day to enroll in many states (see yesterday’s blog for some exceptions), do not let yesterday’s court ruling deter you from enrolling in health insurance!
Read more at https://nationaldisabilitynavigator.org/2018/12/15/judge-strikes-down-aca-oe6-continues/