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Pediatricians Applaud Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance Purchased in All 50 States

6/25/2015 Today's decision provides families with stable access to coverage no matter where they live
Washington, DC—The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stands behind today's 6-3 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in King v. Burwell. This decision affirms that individuals in every state can continue receiving premium tax credits from the federal government to offset the cost of health insurance.

"Research shows that when parents are insured, children are more likely to access the care they need when they need it, and the whole family is healthier," said AAP President Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP. "Today, the Supreme Court supported family health by ensuring that all U.S. families, no matter where they live, can access stable, affordable insurance that meets their most basic needs."

As a result of the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), each state must either establish its own health insurance marketplace for individuals to shop for and purchase health insurance, have the federal government operate the marketplace instead, or pursue a partnership approach between the state and federal governments. Today's decision found that individuals in the 34 states with marketplaces operated by the federal government will still be eligible for premium tax credits to offset the cost of purchasing insurance.

The ruling in King v. Burwell ensures that 6.4 million individuals will continue to have access to subsidies to purchase health insurance, and approximately 445,000 individuals enrolled in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program will continue to be insured. Most are children whose parents would not have inves­tigated marketplace coverage due to the lack of financial assistance, so their children would not have been identified as eligible for public insurance and enrolled along with their parents in coverage.

"As a result of today's Supreme Court decision, families can now rest assured that their ZIP code does not determine their health insurance options," said Dr. Hassink. "It is my sincere hope that today is the last legal challenge facing the Affordable Care Act, and that we can turn our collective national attention to ensuring that the law holds true to its name by offering children and families from Alaska to Wyoming access to stable, affordable health insurance coverage that builds the foundation of health for all children."

The Academy endorsed the ACA in 2010 and filed three amici curiae ("friends of the court") briefs to the Supreme Court in 2012 supporting various aspects of the law. The AAP also joined an amicus brief in King v. Burwell outlining the potential impact an adverse ruling would have on children and individuals with pre-existing health conditions.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.