International Community Health Services (ICHS) officials say the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold tax subsidies authorized by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will result in broader options and more affordable health care for all Americans.
In a 6-3 decision on Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to President Obama’s signature health care law, which made tax subsidies for health insurance available to all states.
“We are very pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision that looked past political differences and instead on the intent of the law, which is to extend health care to all Americans,” ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola said.
ICHS is a member of the Action for Health Justice (AHJ) and joined over 60 organizations in the filing of an amicus brief (literally, “friend of the court”) for the King v. Burwell case. The brief, which supported ACA tax subsidies, illustrated the lack of affordable health care options, access to services, as well as health disparities facing Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders, and highlighted some of the individual lives that would have been affected by the elimination of tax subsidies.
In praising the upholding of the law, Batayola pointed out that enactment of the ACA has benefitted ICHS and its patients in many ways, including:
• Reducing the number of uninsured patients and expanding the number of patients who receive health care. Last year, ICHS outreach teams reached out to more than 17,600 people about the Affordable Care Act and enrolled more than 10,000 of them into low-cost health insurance.
• Creating better access for patients to receive specialty care, since patients no longer have to worry about health insurance coverage.
• Allowing ICHS to open new clinics in Bellevue and Shoreline because of the demand for more health services brought on by more people receiving coverage.