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Millions of Low-Income Americans Will Keep Health Coverage Because of the Supreme Court's Decision in King v. Burwell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michelle Nicolet,
Marketing Director
312.368.2675
mnicolet@povertylaw.org

Today the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, held that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) tax credit subsidies that help consumers to pay health insurance premiums are available in every state. The decision in King v. Burwell means that over 6 million low- to middle-income U.S. residents will be able to keep tax credits worth collectively over $1.7 billion that they already receive, and the tax credits will be available to future enrollees no matter where they live.   

When Congress wrote and passed the ACA, everybody – Republicans, Democrats and the Congressional Budget Office alike – agreed that the tax credits would be available in all states. Insurance companies and the health care industry have adapted their business models to work with the ACA, and have done so successfully for nearly five years. Opponents of the ACA had argued that a drafting mistake in the law meant that consumers in the 34 states that rely on the federal insurance marketplace system (healthcare.gov) could not receive the subsidies.  We are relieved that the Court today sided with the government and recognized that: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not destroy them.”

The magnitude of the decision is exemplified by Illinois, one of the 34 states impacted by this decision.  In that state, over 232,000 Marketplace enrollees will now be able to keep their premium tax credits. Since each Illinois Marketplace enrollee receives an average tax credit of $211 per month, that totals $49 million in tax credits in the state. 

“This decision is a significant victory for millions of Americans working hard to join or remain in the middle class,” said John Bouman, President of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. “Most of those who use the premium tax credits are in working families, either employees or entrepreneurs. Now, with tax credits intact, these families, many of whom earn less than $25,000, can continue to access the health care services that they need. In addition, this decision ensures a more certain future for the Affordable Care Act, which has brought health care coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans.” 

The Shriver Center has provided training and technical assistance to thousands of enrollment specialists since the ACA was passed in March 2010. We will continue our work to enhance consumer understanding of the law and focus on enrolling those who continue to be eligible for subsidies.

 

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org.


The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org

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