In a monumental win for consumers and the right to health care, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled today to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in California v. Texas. Protect Our Care Illinois (POCIL) applauds the decision of the SCOTUS to uphold the Affordable Care Act and reject attempts to take away health coverage for millions.
With this ruling, SCOTUS has solidified the ACA as landmark legislation that expands insurance coverage options and limits costs for millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans. The importance of the ACA cannot be understated. Over 700,000 Illinoisans have coverage through Medicaid Expansion and over 270,000 Illinoisans are covered through the Marketplace. Because of the protections in the ACA, the 5.4 million people in Illinois with preexisting conditions, women and older adults cannot be charged more for their coverage.
POCIL was founded to help prevent the repeal of the ACA in early 2017. Since then, we have continued to fight harmful attacks on the right to health care in our state, of which California v. Texas is just the latest example. While Illinois can celebrate a judicial victory in California v. Texas, there is more work to be done. Over 28 million people in the U.S. were uninsured before the pandemic hit, including over 900,000 in Illinois. This has only worsened in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Almost 15 million people lost employer-sponsored health insurance because of COVID-19 job losses. Insurance coverage has a life-or-death impact, especially now. Over 2,000 deaths from COVID-19 and over 85,000 cases of infection could have been prevented in Illinois if everyone in the state had health insurance.
Everyone deserves access to affordable coverage. The decision in California v. Texas to uphold the ACA means the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for Marketplace coverage happening now through August 15 can continue. Because of the American Rescue Plan Act, millions of Americans are eligible for a plan with a $0 monthly premium. If you are not currently enrolled in health coverage, or if you have coverage but would like to choose a new plan, consider reviewing your options at HealthCare.Gov.
Access to equitable, affordable health care is at the heart of all we do. While we are grateful for the groundbreaking coverage and protections provided by the ACA, we know that thousands of our neighbors and loved ones still lack access to affordable care. Today, we breathe a collective sigh of relief that our health care was protected. Tomorrow, we work to build upon the foundation provided by the ACA to ensure affordable, accessible care for everyone in Illinois.