Celebrating — and Building On — Today’s Supreme Court Decision

Protestor holds sign that says "ACA is Here to Stay" in front of Supreme Court building
A demonstrator in support of the Affordable Care Act holds up a sign at the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, in this 2015 file photo. Photo: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

More than five million Californians can rest assured that their health care will not be ripped away from them. This morning, the US Supreme Court dismissed the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and it will remain the law of the land.

For more than a decade, a partisan and ideological war against the ACA has threatened to destabilize our health care system, forcing millions of American families to live in limbo, wondering if their health care coverage would one day be taken away. Let today’s decision end that war. Now, as the country struggles to heal from the worst public health crisis in a century, it is time to return to sound health care policymaking. It should be driven by science, data, and the needs of everyday Americans — not by politics.

Over time, the ACA has become popular among Americans as they have seen and experienced the many benefits of the law. Those benefits include expanded access to affordable coverage; regulations that bar insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions and that provide other key consumer protections for people who buy their own health insurance; and investments in disease prevention and innovation to make our overall health care system more effective.

Today’s ruling gives California much to celebrate. Our uninsured rate will remain about half of what it was before the ACA was enacted. A total of more than five million Californians have subsidized coverage through Covered California,* our state ACA health insurance exchange, or through Medi-Cal under expanded eligibility rules established by the ACA. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Californians were able to turn to the ACA for coverage. Under the federal American Rescue Plan, additional financial help with premiums and out-of-pocket costs is available through Covered California. I encourage all Californians to explore their options and sign up for coverage.

While we celebrate today’s victory, we aren’t losing sight of our ultimate goal, universal coverage. Much work remains, including expansion of Medi-Cal to cover undocumented Californians and containment of soaring health costs that make care unaffordable for too many families. Ultimately, the best way to keep faith with the vision that inspired the ACA is to continue building on it until every Californian has high-quality, affordable health care.

* CHCF president and CEO Sandra R. Hernández is a board member of Covered California.

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