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Top Officials & Health Advocates Agree: Time to Build On the ACA After SCOTUS Delivers Resounding Decision to Uphold Health Care Law

By June 17, 2021No Comments

Today, the Supreme Court delivered a massive repudiation to the Republican war on health care by throwing California v. Texas, the Trump-backed lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act, out on standing. Statements from Democratic leaders and health care advocates make clear that the decision to affirm the ACA only increases the momentum behind President Biden’s and Democrats as they work to deliver on their health care agenda that voters across the political spectrum support. Now is the time to build on the ACA to lower health care and drug costs, increase coverage, and reduce disparities in health care. 

President Joe Biden: It Is Time To Move Forward And Keep Building On This Landmark Law. “After more than a decade of attacks on the Affordable Care Act through the Congress and the courts, today’s decision – the third major challenge to the law that the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected – it is time to move forward and keep building on this landmark law.” [6/17/21]

Former President Barack Obama: Now We Need To Build On The Affordable Care Act And Continue To Strengthen And Expand It. “Today, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. Again. This ruling reaffirms what we have long known to be true: the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. The principle of universal coverage has been established, and 31 million people now have access to care through the law we passed—with millions more who can no longer be denied coverage or charged more because of a preexisting condition. Now we need to build on the Affordable Care Act and continue to strengthen and expand it. That’s what Biden has done through the American Rescue Plan, giving more families the peace of mind they deserve.” [6/17/21]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Democrats Will Continue Our Work To Build On The Transformational Progress Of The Affordable Care Act And Make Permanent The Measures In The American Rescue Plan To Dramatically Lower The Cost Of Health Insurance Premiums. “More than one million Americans have signed up for affordable health coverage through the ACA Special Enrollment Period that President Biden opened earlier this year. Now, Democrats will continue our work to build on the transformational progress of the Affordable Care Act and make permanent the measures in the American Rescue Plan to dramatically lower the cost of health insurance premiums for people who purchase coverage on their own. For The People, we will lower health costs and prescription drug prices for all Americans.” [6/17/21]

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: The ACA Is Here To Stay. And Now, We’re Going To Try To Make It Bigger And Better—Establish, Once And For All, Affordable Health Care As A Basic Right Of Every American Citizen. “Ever since Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act—expanding health coverage and access to tens of millions of Americans—we have had to fight tooth and nail to preserve the law from partisan Republican attacks. For more than a decade, the assault on our health care law was relentless, from Republicans in Congress, from the executive branch itself, and from Republican attorneys general in the courts. In a landmark vote, we in the Senate prevented the Republicans from repealing the ACA in 2017. Each time, in each arena, the Affordable Care Act has prevailed. And once again today, the United States Supreme Court, in a 7-2 ruling, upheld the Affordable Care Act in the face of another legal challenge. So let me say definitively: the Affordable Care Act has won. The Supreme Court has just ruled: the ACA is here to stay. And now, we’re going to try to make it bigger and better—establish, once and for all, affordable health care as a basic right of every American citizen. What a day.” [6/17/21]

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra: Now We Can Build On The Affordable Care Act By Implementing The Investments That President Biden Has Made In America’s Health With The American Rescue Plan And Through The Expanded Special Enrollment Period. “I will continue to stand up and stand with you to protect access to affordable health care. The COVID-19 public health emergency has underscored the importance of safeguarding this life-saving law and it is only fitting that the Supreme Court recognized its lawfulness. Now we can build on the Affordable Care Act by implementing the investments that President Biden has made in America’s health with the American Rescue Plan and through the expanded Special Enrollment Period. Every American should have access to the tools they need to lead healthy, full lives.” [6/17/21]

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair Of HELP Committee: We Must Seize This Opportunity To Build On Past Progress In Health Care With Bold Solutions.” “With this existential threat to the health coverage and protections so many people rely on finally put to rest, and a President who actually believes health care should be a right not a privilege finally back in the White House—we must seize this opportunity to build on past progress in health care with bold solutions. We need to bring down costs for patients and move toward universal coverage, and I plan to work with President Biden and my colleagues on bold steps to do just that—like empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, expanding eligibility for Medicare to more people, making the premium tax credit increases in the American Rescue Plan permanent, and establishing a public option to allow all families to get quality, affordable coverage.” [6/17/21]

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chair Of Finance Committee: It Is My Hope That Moving Forward We Can Trade Litigation for Innovation and Come Together Around the Idea That Every American Should Have Quality, Affordable Health Care. “The Supreme Court affirmed today that health insurance is not just for the healthy and wealthy and that denying coverage to those who need it most has no place in the United States. I think it is unfortunate that instead of looking for ways to better guarantee health care for their citizens, some states have focused only on repealing a law that would have guaranteed additional care. I authored Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act to give states who think they can do better than the federal government the ability to innovate their own state-based health solutions and even opt out of the federal individual mandate. It is my hope that moving forward we can trade litigation for innovation and come together around the idea that every American should have quality, affordable health care.” [6/17/21]

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chair Of Aging Committee: It’s Time To Make The Changes In The American Rescue Plan Permanent And Build On The Affordable Care Act To Expand Coverage And Bring Down Costs For Working Families. “Republicans in Congress and far right Attorneys General have once again failed in their attempt to rip health care away from millions of Americans and decimate Medicaid. It’s past time for those Republicans who keep bringing these frivolous lawsuits finally to stop these attacks on affordable health care. It’s time to make the changes in the American Rescue Plan permanent and build on the Affordable Care Act to expand coverage and bring down costs for working families.” [6/17/21]

U.S. Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06), Chair Of Energy And Commerce Committee: Now That The Case Is Settled, Our Focus Must Return To Building On The ACA By Lowering Health Care Costs And Expanding Access To Care To The Millions Of Americans Who Still Lack Coverage. “The stakes could not have been higher in this case. If the Supreme Court had overturned the ACA, tens of millions of Americans would have lost their health coverage in the middle of a pandemic and up to 130 million Americans would have lost their protections for pre-existing conditions overnight. Now that the case is settled, our focus must return to building on the ACA by lowering health care costs and expanding access to care to the millions of Americans who still lack coverage. The American Rescue Plan made a historic down payment on these goals and now Congress must build on that progress by making the expanded premium assistance permanent, expanding Medicaid coverage to those who lack access through no fault of their own, and reining in the soaring cost of prescription drugs.” [6/17/21]

U.S. Representative Richard Neal (D-MA-01), Chair Of Ways And Means Committee: We Will Also Continue Fighting To Ensure That Every American Has Access To High-Quality, Affordable Health Care. “Over the years, Republicans have relentlessly attacked and sabotaged the ACA, all while failing to offer any alternative plan to provide Americans with comparable access to coverage. Meanwhile, Democrats have never stopped working to build on the law and deliver even lower health care costs for working families. Just this past year, as part of the Ways and Means Committee’s provisions in the American Rescue Plan, we led the first major expansion of ACA subsidies in more than a decade, giving Americans an even greater sense of security during this time of immense hardship. Our progress has been substantial, but our work is far from done. Not only will Ways and Means Democrats defend against any future Republican attempts to upend our nation’s health care system, but we will also continue fighting to ensure that every American has access to high-quality, affordable health care.” [6/17/21]

U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA-03), Chair Of Education and Labor Committee: I Will Not Only Continue To Protect These Lifesaving Protections From Partisan Attacks, But We Will Also Work To Expand Access And Reduce Costs. “As we continue to confront the worst public health emergency in recent history, our first priority must be to protect Americans’ health and wellbeing. This frivolous legal challenge – brought by a group of Republican Attorneys General and supported by the Trump administration – is the latest example of Republicans’ relentless effort to sabotage and dismantle our nation’s health care system. My colleagues and I will not only continue to protect these lifesaving protections from partisan attacks, but we will also work to expand access and reduce costs. Our goal is to ensure that every American has access to high-quality, affordable health care.” [6/17/21]

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT): Now, We Have To Move Forward And Ensure All Americans Have Access To Affordable, High-Quality Health Care. “Today’s ruling is a huge victory for the millions of Americans who rely on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for protections and coverage. And it should settle the debate once for all—the ACA is the law of the land, and Republicans need to end their relentless attacks on our health care system. Now, we have to move forward and ensure all Americans have access to affordable, high-quality health care. And letting any individual or business buy into Medicare is a popular, effective and fast way to do this. I’m going to be pushing my colleagues in Congress to get this done.” [6/17/21]

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI): Let’s Get To Work To Expand Access To Quality, Affordable Coverage, Lower Prescription Drug Costs, And Take Meaningful Steps To Address Racial Disparities In Health Outcomes. “The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, despite all the attempts to repeal it. Now, let’s get to work to expand access to quality, affordable coverage, lower prescription drug costs, and take meaningful steps to address racial disparities in health outcomes.” [6/17/21]

U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14): Now Is The Time To Strengthen [The ACA]. We Must Make My Health Care Affordability Act Permanent, So Americans Have Access To The Quality, Affordable Care They Deserve. “Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, Republicans have worked breathlessly to repeal the law and take health care away from millions of Americans who depend on it. Today, once again, the Supreme Court upheld the ACA as the law of the land. The Affordable Care Act is protecting a record number of Americans—now is the time to strengthen it. We must make my Health Care Affordability Act permanent, so Americans have access to the quality, affordable care they deserve.” [6/17/21]

U.S. Representative Colin Allred (D-TX-32): Now It’s Time To Get To Work To Improve Our Health Care System For Everyone. “I’ve been working hard to stop the sabotage of the ACA since day one. This decision by the Supreme Court is a win for our country and a sigh of relief for those who depend on it. Now it’s time to get to work to improve our health care system for everyone.” [6/17/21]

Mary Kay Henry, SEIU President: Now It Is Time To Finally Turn The Page Once And For All. Instead Of Trying To Take Healthcare Away From Tens Of Millions Of People, Republican Members Of Congress Need To Join Efforts That Will Make Healthcare More Affordable And Accessible. “Now it is time to finally turn the page once and for all. Instead of trying to take healthcare away from tens of millions of people, Republican members of Congress need to join efforts that will make healthcare more affordable and accessible. That means working across the aisle to address the overlapping health, economic and racial crises working people are facing with Black, brown and indigenous communities.” [6/17/21]

Maura Calsyn, Center For American Progress Acting Vice President Of Health Policy: It’s Time For Our Leaders To Work Together To Build On The Law—Not Take It Away— By, Among Other Reforms, Creating An Affordable Coverage Option For People In The Medicaid Gap, Lowering Prescription Drug Prices; Combating Racial Disparities In The Health Care System; And Addressing The Mental Health Crisis Brought To The Fore By The Covid-19 Pandemic. “The ACA provides coverage for 31 million Americans and has improved the health and financial security for tens of millions of people with preexisting conditions. After more than a decade of lawsuits, it is still standing and stronger than ever thanks to the American Rescue Plan and President Joe Biden’s decisive leadership. It’s time for our leaders to work together to build on the law—not take it away— by, among other reforms, creating an affordable coverage option for people in the Medicaid gap, lowering prescription drug prices; combating racial disparities in the health care system; and addressing the mental health crisis brought to the fore by the COVID-19 pandemic.” [6/17/21]

Mara Youdelman, National Health Law Program Managing Attorney: We Have The Opportunity To Build On The ACA’s Successes And Strengthen It To Make Health Care More Affordable And Accessible. “The ACA has been the law of the land for over a decade, and it has been an incredible force for good in the United States. At the same time, we need to look forward. We have the opportunity to build on the ACA’s successes and strengthen it to make health care more affordable and accessible. We appreciate the first steps Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration took to reduce costs for marketplace plans. Yet deep health inequities and systematic racism continue to exist, and we must act now to address them. Inaction is not an option. [6/17/21]

Anushka Sarkar, Health Care Voter Spokesperson: We Hope To Continue the Momentum From This Decision In An Effort To Make Sure Every American Has High-Quality Health Care Coverage. “Today’s Supreme Court decision strengthens the viability of the Affordable Care Act more than 11 years after its passage. While the fight for affordable and accessible health care is not over, we hope to continue the momentum from this decision in an effort to make sure every American has high-quality health care coverage. We’ve already seen this administration take steps in that direction by reopening the health care marketplace and expanding subsidies as we continue to fight the pandemic. With this decision, we hope Republicans will end their dangerous political games and finally acknowledge that giving people health care is a good thing.” [6/17/21]

Margarida Jorge, Health Care For America Now Executive Director: Congress Must Continue To Build On The ACA, Starting With Closing The Medicaid Coverage Gap And Making Permanent The Affordability Increases In The ACA’s Premium Tax Credits Passed Under The American Rescue Plan. “Despite today’s ruling, there’s still a lot of work to ensure everyone in America can get access to affordable health care. Congress must continue to build on the ACA, starting with closing the Medicaid coverage gap and making permanent the affordability increases in the ACA’s premium tax credits passed under the American Rescue Plan.” [6/17/21]