New website to feature nine stories for each Supreme Court justice who will rule on the Affordable Care Act.
Washington, D.C. — Jennifer Causor’s 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 Jennifer, whose lifetime battle with cystic fibrosis was far more challenging and costly before the Affordable Care Act. Jennifer’s story, and all nine stories to match with the nine Supreme Court justices, can be seen in the coming weeks at HearTheNine.org.
Jennifer has seen major benefits from the Affordable Care Act, which not only blocks insurance companies from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions, such as Jennifer, but provides tax credits for low-income Americans to afford coverage. 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.
“I can’t survive if I can’t afford my treatment,” Causor said. “Since I am unable to work, it had been nearly impossible for me to find affordable coverage with a pre-existing condition. The health insurance I purchased through the Affordable Care Act covers the treatment that keeps me alive.”
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 during 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.
Jennifer grew up living with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that caused her lungs to fill with fluid and still interferes with her digestive system. In August 2013, after decades of life-threatening illness and the collapse of her lungs, Jenn received two new, cystic-fibrosis-free lungs. Although her life is much improved since her transplant, Jenn is unable to return to work—her transplant makes it difficult to keep a normal schedule and returning to work also increases the already high risk of infection. She enrolled in the Affordable Care Act in 2014 through the exchange the day after her COBRA plan, which allowed her to stay on her previous employer’s health plan, ran out. The cost of Jenn’s treatment without insurance is staggering. Her transplant alone cost $279,379, according to a statement of benefits she received from her insurance company. Jenn is currently taking three anti-rejection drugs, one of which has a sticker price of nearly $2,400 per month. That does not include the cost of her other anti-rejection drugs, her anti-fungal drugs, or the drugs she takes to mitigate the infection she caught from her lung donor. “My anti-rejection meds, I have to be on them. Like, I have to. If I went off of them, I would go into rejection and I would eventually die,” Jenn says. On January 1, 2014, Jennifer Causor woke for the first time knowing that no matter what direction her health turned, she would at least live without fear that she would not be able to afford treatment.
For more information, contact Benton Strong at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.481.8142.