June 25, 2015

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Kowal lauds Affordable Care Act ruling

uupdate 6-25-15

UUP President Fred Kowal applauded the Supreme Court’s ruling to reject a lawsuit that would have crippled the Affordable Care Act by denying millions of low-income and middle class Americans federal tax subisidies to help them buy health insurance.

“The Supreme Court should be lauded for its farsighted decision to uphold a crucial component of the Affordable Care Act,” said Kowal. “The historical nature of the Act cannot be underestimated. As of today, more than 16 million Americans who didn’t have health insurance are now insured thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

“Our members in academic medical centers and hospitals across New York have witnessed the impact the Affordable Care Act has had on the lives of so many of those Americans. The Supreme Court made the right decision.”

UUP represents nearly 11,000 medical professionals and educators at SUNY’s three state-operated teaching hospitals in Brooklyn, Stony Brook and Syracuse and health sciences centers in Buffalo and Stony Brook.

The 6-3 decision was announced June 25. It will allow the government to continue to provide tax subsidies to more than 6.4 million people across the country to purchase health insurance.

The suit, King v. Burwell, No. 14-114, challenged that the federal government should not be allowed to pay subsidies in 34 states without their own health insurance exchanges; the case hinged on wording that allowed subsidies for those purchasing insurance on exchanges “established by the state.” But the justices ruled that the subsidies can be paid, regardless of which state an individual lives in.

AFT President Randi Weingarten said the decision was a “victory for working families.” UUP is affiliated with AFT, which represents more than 120,000 health care workers nationwide.

“Ask the nurse who sees patients every day who are getting healthy thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Ask the adjunct professor or the school support-staff worker who now have coverage thanks to the law. The Affordable Care Act is working,” she said.

“Today’s ruling has prevented a major step backward for our country—one that could easily have sent our entire health care system into a tailspin. Now, we can continue our shared efforts to improve the Affordable Care Act and fulfill its vision of affordable, quality healthcare for all Americans.”

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García echoed the necessity of the Affordable Care Act in her NEA press statement.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell will let millions of Americans breathe a little easier knowing that their health insurance is secure and will remain affordable,” she said. “The subsidies provided by the Affordable Care Act help increase school children’s access to quality health insurance and medical care.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the ruling an “important victory” for millions who can’t afford health insurance.

“It was always clear the Affordable Care Act was designed to help middle-class and low-income families in every state, he said. “The Court’s decision means the millions of families counting on this financial assistance will not be at the mercy of Republican governors and lawmakers who zealously oppose the Affordable Care Act at every turn.”

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