Whew. It's been a long fight, but the US Supreme Court announced today that it would not overturn the Affordable Care Act. As the New York Times reports,
Striking down the Affordable Care Act would have expanded the ranks of the uninsured in the United States by about 21 million people — a nearly 70 percent increase — according to recent estimates from the Urban Institute.
The biggest loss of coverage would have been among low-income adults who became eligible for Medicaid under the law after most expanded the program to include them. But millions of Americans would also have lost private insurance, including young adults whom the law allowed to stay on their parents’ plans until they turned 26 and families whose income was modest enough to qualify for subsidies that help pay their monthly premiums.
A ruling against the law would also have doomed its protections for Americans with past or current health problems — or pre-existing conditions. The protections bar insurers from denying them coverage or charging them more for it.
This is a big deal for me as I've put a lot of time in on this over the last 12 years, including street actions in support of its passage; bus rides to DC: probably dozens of op-eds; scary town hall meetings, including one where an ACA opponent heckled a priest during an opening prayer; pushing for Medicaid expansion in WV and other states; fighting off attempts to mess with Medicaid expansion; mobilizing to defend it in various ways after Trump's election; urging WV's senators not to undo it when that was a real option; and more. You can probably find scores of posts about it here. I'm also proud that the American Friends Service Committee was part of this effort from the beginning.
I'm hoping this settles things once and for all and that we can keep building out and expanding care, including expanding Medicaid in the twelve holdout states. It's probably no coincidence that eight of those states were part of the Confederacy during the Civil War. As I wrote here in 2014, there's a long and ugly connection between the legacy of racism and denying health care to millions of Americans of all backgrounds. I'm hoping this is a nail in that coffin.