In the second landmark decision regarding the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday in King v. Burwell voted 6-3 to affirm that individuals in any state will remain eligible to receive premium tax credits by purchasing insurance through a healthcare exchange. In upholding the law, the Supreme Court has secured the coverage of 6.4 million Americans who gained health insurance coverage because of the ACA.
What was this case about?
Under the Affordable Care Act, individuals not covered by an employer-sponsored health plan, Medicaid, Medicare or other public insurance program are required to secure their own private insurance coverage or pay a penalty. To help offset this cost, the ACA established federal subsidies for low-income individuals and families whose incomes are between 100% and 400% the federal poverty level, if they purchase insurance via an exchange. The Court’s ruling today reaffirmed that those individuals would still be eligible to receive the tax credits, regardless of their state of residence. Nationally, 10.2 million people have signed up for health insurance under the Obama health overhaul, of whom 8.7 million are receiving an average subsidy of $272 a month to offset the cost of premiums.
Why does it matter?
- Of the 8.7 million receiving subsidies, 4 million were at risk of losing that aid – including 1 million Texans. Without the aid, many of these individuals could not afford their insurance premiums.
- Without coverage, individuals are less likely to seek preventive treatment and resort to the emergency room for healthcare, leaving local hospitals and clinics overcrowded and financially burdened by uncompensated care.
Learn more about today’s decision from these articles and resources:
- Houston Chronicle’s article on today’s decision, as well as in their business blog.
- Baker Institute’s research, For exact numbers & to see the impact the marketplace has had on Texas
- ᵃTexas Association of Community Health Center’s report on the impact of today’s decision and the rejection of the federal government match.
- Center For Public Policy Priorities – Texas, for a full recap of the 84th legislative session and policy udpates.
Today’s decision ensured affordable health insurance for more than 1 million living in Texas. There are still, however, many across our country and in our state that are uninsured. Doctors For Change believes every Texan needs access to quality health care, and will continue to work toward this goal for all in our community. We encourage you to use the DFCGuide, for information to help your patients navigate the marketplace and gain insurance coverage – (www.dfcguide.org/guide/insurance-options/). If you’d like to get more involved, we also invite you to join us in August for our Access to Care forum, or consider joining the DFC Access to Care committee.
Thank you all for your continued work in creating a healthier community!
Director of Operations, DFC