The Supreme Court’s decision to leave the Affordable Care Act intact literally saves the lives of 23 million Americans, including 3 million children. 

“We are relieved to see that the Supreme Court has left the Affordable Care Act intact and it can continue to offer health care to millions of children and the people who care for them,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus on Children. “The ACA has dramatically improved the health and lives of children. Its preservation today means they will continue to enjoy coverage for pre-existing conditions and well-child visits without co-pays, that former foster youth will retain Medicaid coverage, and that maternal and infant mortality rates will continue to decline. This was a close call. We must ensure that our leaders never again threaten the health and well-being of our nation’s children.”

The case California v. Texas, heard by the Court in Nov. 2020, considered whether the ACA remained viable under the Constitution after a lower court struck down its individual mandate. In a 7-2 decision today, the justices said that the plaintiffs do not have standing to challenge the individual mandate.
The ACA revolutionized health care for millions of children who would otherwise be excluded from the health insurance market. Among the law’s primary achievements, First Focus argued in an amicus brief, are protecting children with preexisting conditions, extending dependent coverage, and eliminating annual and lifetime limits on benefits.
Overturning the ACA would have:

  • Endangered the physical — and financial — well-being of former foster youth who would have lost Medicaid coverage.
  • Denied care to the 25% of American children with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, juvenile diabetes, pediatric cancer, ADHD, and other common childhood diseases.
  • Quickly exhausted the annual and even lifetime benefits of a child who began life in the neonatal intensive care unit, had cancer, or another serious illness.
  • Reversed a decade of gains that lowered infant and maternal mortality rates, pushing the United States even closer to the top of that list among developed nations. 
  • Delivered myriad other outcomes that have a measurable impact on public health and our nation’s economy.

For more information, please see our issue brief on children and the Affordable Care Act.