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U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Affordable Care Act

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2012

CONTACT: Adela de la Torre
delatorre@nilc.org; 213-674-2832


SUPREME COURT ON HEALTH CARE: A VICTORY FOR WORKING FAMILIES

We Need to Keep Moving Forward to Achieve True Reform


WASHINGTON — In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court today upheld the current law of the land, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as constitutional. The Court affirmed that the requirement to purchase health insurance is within Congress’s power to tax, and that states can choose to expand Medicaid to low-income individuals, but it limited the federal government’s ability to compel states to do so. The ACA, which represents the most significant change to the nation’s health care system in 45 years, will allow 31 million previously uninsured Americans to receive affordable health insurance and already has begun to curb abuses by insurance companies. However, undocumented immigrants remain excluded from obtaining health care under the law. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Today’s decision will give millions of Americans, including immigrants and communities of color who are disproportionately uninsured, an opportunity to buy affordable health insurance for themselves and their children and to seek the care they need. The Supreme Court, like millions of Americans, understands that no mother should have to choose between rent and life-saving medical treatment for her child, and our young adults should not be shut out of insurance due to a preexisting condition.

“States and the federal government should now work together to swiftly implement this landmark legislation so that more Americans can continue to personally benefit from this law. This law gives more Americans the opportunity to be healthy and be financially secure. Health care for everyday individuals should not be held hostage to partisan politics. The American people, the legislature, and now the Supreme Court have spoken; let us now begin the process of moving forward together to ensure that everyone can afford to get the health care they need and make our communities and country stronger.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to reaffirm states’ flexibility to expand affordable health care to the most vulnerable in our society beckons states to do what is in the best interest of their residents.  How a state treats its most vulnerable residents is a reflection of our moral and ethical duty to each other. In this great nation, a person’s access to quality, affordable care should not solely depend on his or her zip code.

“Everyone living in the United States should have the same opportunities to protect their families, be healthy and safe from harm, and to achieve their hopes and dreams. The Affordable Care Act represents a step forward to attaining those goals. But it is important to remember that there is much left to be done to make sure the health system reflects our changing demographics and our basic values. We need to look ahead and work towards our goal of ensuring that there is quality care for everyone, regardless of income and immigration status in the U.S.”


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