Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Obama Administration in the matter King v. Burwell, upholding the subsidies that were established under 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Today’s decision by the Court is a win for consumers and clears the way for the health reform law to move forward in every state.

At issue in the case, which was argued before the Court on March 4, was whether the language of the ACA statute allowed the payment of subsidies to individuals who live in states that did not establish their own state-based exchanges. Two-thirds of states (34 states) have opted to provide coverage through the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) rather than state-based exchanges. Approximately 9 million people who live in FFM states, including an estimated 730,000 children, were at risk of losing their ACA subsidies if the court ruled for the plaintiff, King. A decision against the Obama Administration would have caused a substantial increase in the numbers of uninsured, reversing the recent gains attributable to the ACA.

In the ruling the majority said “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”  The Court found that the tax credits are available to individuals in States that have a Federal Exchange.

While children make up a small fraction of Marketplace enrollees, a decision to limit subsidies would have had a serious effect on children in FFM states. Earlier this spring, First Focus joined other child advocates in an amicus brief to the Court expressing our concern that limiting subsidies would cause low-income children and families to lose access to affordable coverage in the Marketplace. This impact would be even more severe if funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was to sunset. According to the ACA, Marketplace coverage is intended to be a key source of coverage for children who currently get their coverage through CHIP in the event CHIP funding is discontinued in the future. CHIP funding was recently extended by Congress through FY 2017 but its future beyond FY 2017 is uncertain.

Today’s decision is good news for children and families. The ruling of the Court protects the availability of affordable coverage in every state across the nation and ensures that ACA implementation is able to continue as planned.

#SCOTUS upholds subsidies for affordable health coverage. Good news for kids! More v/ @First_Focus: http://bit.ly/1RziEqg #ACAHereToStay
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Want to learn more? First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. Read more about our work on child health.

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