How the ACA ruling affects millions with chronic disease

| Tamara Miller

You know how important effective treatments and good doctors are to living fully with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. But just as important—and maybe even more fundamental—is access to those treatments and doctors. 

That’s why the National Psoriasis Foundation is pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in King vs. Burwell that premium subsidies can be used by anyone obtaining insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace in any state. 

In 2015, an estimated 11.7 million Americans obtained health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Low-and middle-income residents rely on subsidies—basically, tax breaks—to make the cost of health insurance affordable. 

At issue in the Supreme Court case was whether or not the Affordable Care Act allowed the use of subsidies in the 34 states using a federally-facilitated exchange rather than their own state-based exchange.  

On June 25, the Court upheld the subsidies by a 6-3 decision. 

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter,” wrote Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the Court’s majority opinion. 

If the Court had ruled the other way, insurance markets in the 34 impacted states would have been thrown into disarray. Researchers at the Urban Institute estimated that losing those subsidies would have resulted in 8.2 million people losing their insurance. It also would have increased the cost of insurance premiums for those who remained in the marketplace by an average of 35 percent. This is largely because relatively healthy people in need of subsidies would likely have dropped their coverage leaving only the sickest – and most costly – patients in the plans.

The court’s decision allows individuals and families continued access to the care and treatments they need to live healthy lives.

 “I believe the Supreme Court decision is critical to ensuring access for our community both today and for the foreseeable future," said Quardricos Driskell, health policy manager of the National Psoriasis Foundation. 

The Court’s decision to uphold the subsidies ensures that millions of Americans enrolled in the federally-facilitated insurance exchange will have the same access to the subsidies as people enrolled in the state insurance exchanges.   

The National Psoriasis Foundation will continue to monitor the Affordable Care Act. For more information, please click here.


Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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