FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2015
Jemarion Jones, 301-628-5198
Adam Sachs, 301-628-5034
ANA to Supreme Court: Tax Credits Needed to Ensure Continued Access to Health Care
The American Nurses Association (ANA) joined groups representing health care professionals and community health care centers in filing an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of King v. Burwell in support of tax credit subsidies created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to purchase health insurance. Thanks to the subsidies, millions of previously uninsured Americans now have access to health insurance coverage.
“ANA has always been a staunch supporter of the ACA and its goal of ensuring Americans get the insurance coverage they need to get healthy and stay healthy,” said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “A ruling by the Supreme Court that subsidies are only available to some would thwart the results intended by Congress when it enacted the Affordable Care Act with devastating consequences that would not be in the best interest of this country.”
At issue is whether tax credit subsidies should be available for those who purchased health plans through a marketplace—or “exchange”—run by the federal government via the HealthCare.gov website. If the Supreme Court rules against the ACA tax credits in the 37 states with federally run marketplaces, it is estimated that more than 8 million Americans would become uninsured. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King. V. Burwell on March 4.
Without health insurance, many people often wait until a serious problem arises and then visit more expensive facilities, such as emergency departments, for treatment. Lack of insurance also means no access to routine preventive care to keep in check chronic, yet treatable, conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
In addition to the physical toll, lack of health insurance can take a financial one, given that many uninsured individuals are a medical crisis away from personal bankruptcy.
Registered nurses are frontline witnesses of the harmful effects on individuals who are uninsured and defer needed care, and have a unique perspective to offer the Supreme Court regarding the consequences of removing the ACA’s tax subsidies.
ANA contends that many of the fundamental reforms provided by the ACA, such as prohibiting denial of health insurance based on pre-existing conditions, greatly improve access to
health care. These patient protections will not be feasible financially for millions of people without the tax credit subsidies. The credits are essential to the ACA’s goal to make health insurance universally available and affordable. ANA believes that all individuals should have access to essential health care services.
The amicus (friend of the court) brief is in support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, respondents in the Supreme Court case.
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ANA is the only full-service professional organization representing the interests of the nation's 3.1 million registered nurses through its constituent and state nurses associations and its organizational affiliates. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the rights of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public. Please visit www.nursingworld.org for more information.