RELEASE: Hear the Nine: Local Pennsylvania Resident Helps Launch First Three Stories in Series on Impact of King v. Burwell
New website to feature nine stories for each Supreme Court justice who will rule on the Affordable Care Act.
Washington, D.C. — Joe Lucas’ story is one of the three helping kick off a month-long campaign by the Center for American Progress to highlight the very real impacts of the King v. Burwell lawsuit, the latest attempt by conservatives to use the Supreme Court against the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. The consequences of a ruling against the ACA could have devastating effects for people such as Joe, who had to give up insurance as costs skyrocketed but now has an affordable plan thanks to tax credits through the ACA. Joe’s story, and all nine stories to match with the nine Supreme Court justices, can be seen in the coming weeks at HearTheNine.org.
Joe has seen major benefits from the Affordable Care Act, which not only blocks insurance companies from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions, such as Joe, but provides tax credits for low-income Americans to afford coverage. Those tax credits have kept Joe’s premium at just $150, making it affordable for one of the first times in his life. It is these tax credits that are at the heart of the King v. Burwell suit, meaning a ruling against the ACA would directly affect millions of Americans and severely damage the insurance market.
“The marketplace and the tax credits have helped me find a plan that works and is affordable for me,” Lucas said. “I have a zero deductible with low copays for office visits, which provides tremendous peace of mind knowing that a major medical event will not cause me financial distress.”
Unlike two years ago, when the Supreme Court ruled before the marketplaces were in effect, the Court’s decision on King v. Burwell will have immediate real-world consequences. More than 9 million people have already signed up or re-enrolled in the current open enrollment period, and millions more have benefitted from Medicaid expansion in their states. Through King v. Burwell, conservative opposition to the Affordable Care Act is attempting to undermine the law through a key clause that clearly states that tax credits for insurance will be available across all 50 states for low-income Americans. For the next month, CAP will be highlighting more personal stories, videos, and facts about the case at HearTheNine.org, culminating in a major event outside Supreme Court on the day of the oral arguments—March 4.
“These stories are just a few of millions from across the country about people whose lives are better today because of the Affordable Care Act,” said Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress. “Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled favorably on hypothetical outcomes of the Affordable Care Act, but the actions of these justices will have immediate consequences for real people this year. The ACA is working, which why millions of Americans would be affected by a ruling against it and why so many have spoken against this political lawsuit.”
- In just one year, the ACA has reduced the number of uninsured Americans by about 10 million, while millions have signed up for coverage through the marketplace.
- Last year, nearly 7 in 10 people who enrolled in the marketplaces selected a plan that cost $100 or less per month, after factoring in tax credits.
- Americans are getting better coverage than before with access to preventive services such as vaccines, cancer screenings, and yearly wellness visits with no out-of-pocket costs. And, as many stories have shown, insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny or drop anyone from coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
Joe is a self-employed painter from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who has not had health insurance for most of his life. In 2000, he was able to get health insurance through an employer, but after five years, his premium rate was out of control—amounting to nearly one-quarter of his income—forcing him to make the difficult decision to become uninsured again. Three years later, Joe suffered an aortic aneurism. After 11 days in the hospital, he went home with a $69,000 medical bill and the headache of finding a health care plan with a pre-existing condition. When he tried to find coverage, he was quoted monthly premiums of almost $1,000, or in most cases, he was denied coverage completely. But with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Joe was able to purchase transitional insurance under Pennsylvania’s pre-existing condition program until the marketplace officially opened. As soon as the marketplace opened, Joe was able to shop around for other coverage options with lower deductibles and copays. He had the choice of 35 different plans and received a monthly $233 subsidy. With his subsidy, Joe paid only $150 a month last year for his silver plan. With coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Joe does not have to worry about getting the annual checkup he needs for his doctor to monitor his heart condition. In addition, his blood pressure medicine and annual CT scan, which can cost $11,000 without insurance, are now much more affordable. Joe said that without the subsidy he receives under the Affordable Care Act, he would be unable to afford health coverage without working significantly more hours. “The subsidies are important to me because not only do they help lower premiums, they also lower deductibles and copays, which also lower out-of-pocket expenses,” said Joe. “I have a zero deductible with low copays for office visits, which provides tremendous peace of mind knowing that a major medical event will not cause me financial distress.” He recently re-enrolled this year after finding an affordable plan for his lifestyle and discovered he would save over $2,600 on his prescriptions annually.
For more information, contact Benton Strong at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.481.8142.