HearTheNine.org highlights how a Supreme Court ruling against the Affordable Care Act would have real-life impacts on Americans across the country.
Washington, D.C. — With nine Supreme Court justices holding the fate of millions of Americans’ access to affordable health care in their hands, the Center for American Progress is releasing three more stories in its Hear the Nine campaign today. Today’s stories are part of a month-long effort to highlight nine personal stories showing the stakes for the Court—one for each justice. This week’s stories from Florida, Georgia, and Ohio show how the case would hit people such as Celia M. from Miami, who went eight years without health insurance before signing up under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, and seeing the cost savings when she spent time in the emergency room. Celia’s story is one of three highlighted today. All of the stories can be found at HearTheNine.org.
Conservatives have been trying for years to undermine and repeal the Affordable Care Act. Since they have been unable to do it legislatively, they “recruited [the Supreme Court] into the front lines of a partisan war.” A decision in favor of the plaintiffs would have devastating consequences for the nation’s health care system. Millions of Americans have signed up for and are benefiting from health care under the Affordable Care Act, from saving money on premiums and care to simply having access they didn’t have before. In many cases, the Affordable Care Act has saved lives.
Today’s stories feature:
- Julie and Danny T., Decatur, Georgia: In 2014, Julie and Danny enrolled using the marketplace, finding a plan with lower deductibles, improved coverage, and—with tax credits—a premium that is $300 per month less than before.
“If I didn’t have my new health insurance plan, those specialist appointments probably would have put us in bankruptcy,” Julie said. “I had MRIs and saw so many specialists, it would have cost us thousands. It really gave me peace of mind to know that I can care for my health in an affordable way.”
- Jordan H., Toledo, Ohio: Jordan lost his job in 2013, cutting his household income by 60 percent and making private insurance completely unaffordable. He and his wife signed up through the Affordable Care Act in 2014, with Jordan seeing immediate benefits when the daily medicine he needs to manage narcolepsy—normally $10,000 per month out of pocket—cost just $25 per month.
“Enrolling for coverage through HealthCare.gov was the only way we could afford health coverage.”
- Celia M., Miami, Florida: For nearly eight years, Celia had been unable to afford health coverage, feeling lucky that she avoided any serious health issues. But she signed up for a silver plan in 2014, and when a minor accident sent her to the emergency room, her largest hospital bill was $57.
“I’m just so worried about having my coverage taken away. I finally have health insurance I can afford, and now I have the risk of losing it. I can’t imagine going back to having to worry about suffering from anything worse than a cold.”
“Recent media scrutiny around the King v. Burwell case is showing the political nature of this lawsuit and conservatives’ focus on taking health care away from millions of Americans,” said Michele Jawando, Vice President for Legal Progress at the Center for American Progress. “Five years after the ACA became law, conservatives are still fighting to prevent access to affordable health care, but now their actions don’t have theoretical situations. A Supreme Court ruling against the Affordable Care Act would throw our health care system into disarray, and the people who would be punished are the ones who can afford it the least.”
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. Last week, CAP released the first three of the nine stories, and three more will be highlighted next week alongside videos and facts about the case at HearTheNine.org.
- 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.
Julie and Danny T., Decatur, Georgia
Julie and Danny T. of Decatur, Georgia, started their own business 10 years ago. Prior to signing up for the Affordable Care Act, the couple had a very basic policy with a $6,000 deductible and a payment of around $400 per month. They used this plan to cover an annual physical exam but hoped and prayed that they would stay healthy. After breaking her foot, Julie was rushed to the emergency room—a trip that cost her $1,700. “Money is tight, and we struggle as it is. Something as simple as walking around the block could end up costing us thousands.” In 2014, Julie and Danny were able to sign up for the Affordable Care Act using the marketplace, where the couple found a plan with smaller deductibles, improved coverage, and tax credits that brought their plan down to only $100 per month. Later that year, Julie started experiencing constant pain. After visits to a dozen different specialists, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis—a disorder that will stay with her for the rest of her life. “If I didn’t have my new health insurance plan, those specialist appointments probably would have put us in bankruptcy,” Julie said. “I had MRIs and saw so many specialists, it would have cost us thousands. It really gave me peace of mind to know that I can care for my health in an affordable way.”
Jordan H., Toledo, Ohio
When Jordan H. of Toledo, Ohio, lost his job in 2013, his total household income fell 60 percent, making it impossible for him and his wife to pay for a private health insurance plan. When the marketplace opened in 2014, both Jordan and his wife were able to sign up for affordable health care. “Enrolling for coverage through HealthCare.gov was the only way we could afford health coverage,” Jordan said. Over the years, Jordan has had many unexpected health issues, including narcolepsy—a neurological disorder that causes overwhelming daytime drowsiness and, at times, can make a person suffering from the disorder suddenly fall asleep. While there is no cure, Jordan needs a prescription that helps him maintain a daily routine that would cost him $10,000 per month out of pocket. Under the Affordable Care Act, his prescription costs him only $25 per month. Both Jordan and his wife now work part time and recently re-enrolled in the marketplace. They receive about $300 in tax credits to help them pay for their monthly costs.
Celia M., Miami, Florida
Since 2005, Celia M. of Florida had been unable to find affordable health coverage. A self-employed pilates instructor and therapist, Celia could only find private insurance that cost upwards of $900 per month. So she went without coverage for nine years, luckily avoiding any serious issues with her health. In 2014, Celia decided to find coverage from the Florida marketplace. After signing up for a silver plan, Celia had a minor accident in her home that required a trip to the emergency room. After receiving treatment for the fall, Celia’s largest hospital bill was $57. “I couldn’t have even imagined what that would have cost me out of pocket—more than I could ever afford,” she said. This year, Celia re-enrolled for another silver plan and receives tax credits to help her pay for the cost. For around $200 per month, Celia feels assured that she will be covered for any health incident—minor or major—and has made a point of getting an annual wellness exam. “I’m just so worried about having my coverage taken away. I finally have health insurance I can afford, and now I have the risk of losing it. I can’t imagine going back to having to worry about suffering from anything worse than a cold.”
For more information, contact Benton Strong at gro.ssergorpnacirema@gnortsb or 202.481.8142.