June 25, 2015
WASHINGTON – Today, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) released the below statement following the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits in the federally run health insurance Marketplace (Healthcare.gov).
“The Supreme Court today protected health care access for millions of low-income families across the country,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “Many Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander families couldn’t afford health insurance before the ACA, and thanks to the Supreme Court, can continue to be see their doctors and live healthier lives.”
The Court ruled 6-3 that the ACA’s tax credits are available to persons who enroll in Healthcare.gov, the federally run health insurance Marketplace. The Court rejected opponent’s arguments that financial help is limited only to state-based Marketplaces. Thirty-seven states stood to be impacted, including three of the five states with the largest uninsured and ACA eligible AA and NHPI populations: Texas, Florida and New Jersey. Removing tax credits in these states would have caused premiums to substantially increase and result in an estimated 8 million people loosing coverage both inside and outside the Marketplace.
With this decision, the Court has erased any doubts that the ACA is here to stay. The ACA sought to remedy high rates on uninsurance across the country by substantially expanding access to health insurance for middle- and low-income people, including millions of AA and NHPIs, by providing tax credits to make health insurance affordable. This is the express purpose of the ACA and is supported by the law’s text. This is the second Court ruling upholding the law, which has faced politically motivated attacks in the courts and Congress during the last five years.
APIAHF filed an amicus brief on January 28 that detailed stories from AAs and NHPIs who would suffer life-threatening consequences without coverage. The brief discussed the lack of coverage options and lingering health disparities facing AAs and NHPIs that supported the ACA’s passage. Prior to the law, nearly one in seven AAs and NHPIs were uninsured and even more were underinsured. With today’s ruling, these individuals and families can continue to enroll in health coverage with help from the tax credits.
APIAHF’s brief was jointly filed with the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, who together with APIAHF lead Action for Health Justice. Sixty-three community and health organizations also signed on in support of the brief. APIAHF has partnered with Action for Health Justice to ensure that AAs and NHPIs realize the benefits of the new health law.
Furthermore, APIAHF and leading civil rights and health organizations have issued a joint statement.