(PRESS RELEASE) The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in yet another challenge to the Affordable Care Act—a case that could completely dismantle the historic legislation that has already brought millions of people affordable, quality health care services to which they otherwise would not have access.
The case, King v. Burwell, challenges the Affordable Care Act’s federal tax credits for individuals who need assistance affording mandatory coverage through Health Insurance Marketplaces established by the federal government in the 34 states that have refused to establish state-run Marketplaces. At issue for the Court is whether Congress intended to include such tax credits for individuals obtaining health coverage through these federally-run Marketplaces in addition to the 16 state-run consumer Marketplaces.
The Center for Reproductive Rights is one of 68 organizations that signed on to an amicus brief in the King v. Burwell case, submitted by the National Women’s Law Center, which argues that the tax credits are critical to ensuring more than 9 million women maintain affordable health care benefits
Studies estimate that anywhere from 8 to 10 million Americans would lose their health insurance if the Supreme Court takes away the tax credits they need to afford coverage. Half of those at risk are women, including 1.4 million women of color. An additional 5 million children could also lose coverage.
Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“The Affordable Care Act is an historic step forward in improving the lives of all Americans, especially millions of women who now have access to a wide range of reproductive health care services they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.
“But without the critical benefits afforded by this law, millions of Americans would suddenly lose their insurance coverage—putting their health, well-being, and economic stability at grave risk.
“Just as it previously upheld the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court must take this opportunity to preserve the benefits this historic law provides for millions of Americans—benefits that are essential to their health, lives, families, and future.”
The Affordable Care Act—which was upheld in 2012 by the U.S. Supreme Court—vastly expanded women’s access to preventive health care without copayments, including contraception, cancer screenings, HIV and STI testing, well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, and prenatal and post-partum care and counseling.
However, in June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. allowed some private companies to limit their employees’ birth control coverage under the ACA’s preventive health provision based on the religious opinions of corporate owners.