Racial Equity Organizations’ Statement on SCOTUS Decision in King v. Burwell

Statement | June 25 2015
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We, the undersigned organizations working to advance racial justice and health equity in the United States, are pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has found that health insurance subsidies authorized by the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will remain intact.

The Court’s ruling in the King v. Burwell case in favor of the government reinforces the fact Congress fully intended in the ACA that all individuals who purchased health insurance through the state or federal exchanges should receive premium tax-credit subsidies if they meet eligibility requirements.  This ruling should lay to rest future frivolous attempts by the law’s opponents to obstruct the ACA.  Indeed, we hope that this ruling sends a strong signal that the ACA is the law of the land, and that our states and federal government should now work with all deliberate speed to ensure that the law is equitably and effectively implemented.

As a result of the ACA, an unprecedented number of individuals and families now possess health insurance.  A large body of research demonstrates that lacking health insurance decreases the likelihood of receiving timely, high-quality care; places families at risk for bankruptcy should a loved one become sick and require health care; decreases productivity; and increases risk for premature mortality.  Many of these risks persist and are even exacerbated in communities of color, which continue to have high rates of uninsurance relative to white Americans, and which face a higher burden of disease, disability, and premature death.   With the ACA now a settled matter, and with its equitable implementation, these health inequities are likely to be significantly reduced.  We as organizations that work to advance racial equity therefor applaud the Court’s ruling, and hope that this ruling strongly discourages future specious attempts to dismantle the ACA.

It is time now to refocus our efforts and ensure that the law works as intended.  Much more needs to be done to ensure that everyone in the United States – regardless of race, ethnicity, place of birth, or English language ability – has an equitable opportunity to live a healthy life.  The ACA is a necessary, but insufficient step by itself toward this goal.  But it represents the most important legislative achievement in the last 50 years to create a healthier nation.   We look forward to working to build upon the gains of this historic legislation and ensuring that future generations of people in the United States will not have to fight for the right to health.

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Demos
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Collaborative for Health Equity
National Congress of American Indians
National Council of La Raza
National Urban League
PICO National Network
Poverty & Race Research Action Council