B’nai B’rith International welcomes the 6-3 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) use of insurance premium subsidies nationwide in the long awaited decision issued today in King v. Burwell.
As an advocate for seniors, B’nai B’rith recognizes that lifetime access to health care is critically important to the goal of healthy aging. We have long recognized that healthy aging doesn’t begin at age 65, and pursued policies that promote and facilitate access to care and coverage. This is especially important as it is harder to insure people ages 50-64, many of whom receive subsidies in the 34 states at issue in King v. Burwell.
When the ACA was written, it was specifically designed to provide subsidies for low-to-middle income families to buy health insurance. The language in the law that defined the insurance exchanges in which these subsidies could be used was challenged in this case. The plaintiffs held that if a state did not set up its own health insurance exchange and instead opted into using the federal government’s insurance exchange, the ACA is not legally allowed to distribute insurance subsidies for insurance purchased in the federal exchange.
There are 34 states that did not create their own exchange, opting instead to ask the federal government to run an exchange for them, allowing coverage for residents. Because of the Supreme Court’s ruling, those 6.3 million people will continue to be able to afford their coverage.
B’nai B’rith supports this decision issued today by the Supreme Court because it will continue to allow millions of Americans, many of them older workers who struggle to afford coverage, to receive subsidies as intended by the ACA.
B’nai B’rith looks forward to continuing to improve access to health care in the United States by improving on the ACA, as well as strengthening Medicare and Medicaid.