In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government in King v. Burwell, a legal case that threatened to strip premium tax credits from residents in two-thirds of states, thus putting 6.4 million low- to moderate-income Americans at risk of losing their ability to afford health care coverage.
In the lead up to the decision, Families USA brought attention to the potentially devastating impact of the decision. We produced this interactive video discussing what a negative ruling would mean for health care consumers.
Health care at risk: Stories from consumers
Terry runs a junk hauling business. Since enrolling in health coverage through the health insurance marketplace, he and his wife pay only 10% of what they previously spent on her thyroid cancer prescriptions. If they lost their subsidy, Terry and his wife would either substantively downgrade their coverage or forgo insurance entirely. (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
Stephanie B., Gladstone, MO
Stephanie is a single mom running her own legal practice who lives with diabetes. Signing up for ACA insurance with a tax credit subsidy allowed Stephanie to buy health coverage for the first time in years. As a diabetic, it’s critical for Stephanie to have access to doctors and medication. (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
Kim D., Roanoke, VA
Kim is an office manager with a thyroid condition, scoliosis, and migraines. Besides having the “best insurance” ever (under her health insurance marketplace plan), Kim is thrilled that she can now pledge more money at her church. If Kim lost her subsidy, she would be forced to drop her insurance and go back to the expensive, low-quality coverage that she had before. (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
Karen H., Virginia Beach, VA
After her third breast cancer diagnosis, Karen knew she’d never be eligible for private insurance. She was pursuing a PhD in history, but left her studies and student health insurance to care for her mother, who is suffering from vascular dementia. Without a subsidy, Karen would have to put her mom in a residential living center and find a job with health coverage. Karen said she couldn't afford to pay full-price for insurance, and going uninsured is not an option. “If my cancer comes back, I can't get treatment without insurance," she says. (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
Jackie E., Tallahassee, FL
Jackie is a retired nurse who struggled to find insurance coverage for herself and her daughters since leaving New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Jackie and one of her daughters both suffer from asthma. After years of being uninsured, she is grateful to have a $397 tax credit subsidy through the health insurance marketplace. “After suffering so long, and having no one do anything, it was such a relief to have it," she said. “I did the happy dance when I saw my insurance card.” (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
Melanie B., Rocky Mount, NC
Melanie, a cancer survivor, feels “blessed to have adequate, real insurance." After losing her job, she took advantage of a job retraining program at a local community college. As she works toward her health information technology degree, Melanie’s tax premium subsidy is helping her invest in her future. (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
Steve O., Chocowinity, NC
Steve was forced into early retirement after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer while his wife is an insulin-dependent diabetic. They had cashed out four life insurance policies to pay for their health care and an expensive policy for people with high-risk medical conditions. Their marketplace health insurance saves them thousands of dollars a year. If they lose their subsidy, Steve and his wife could run out of money in the long-term. (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
Lori Z., Rosendale, WI
Lori runs a small business, but had trouble finding health coverage she could afford until she signed up for ACA insurance. Without a subsidy, money would be tight for Lori, who recently had treatment for breast cancer. While she was undergoing treatment, Lori had to decline some big orders, which cost her business. But once she got subsidies, she was able to save $230 per month (nearly the cost of her monthly premium)—a big relief for her. She’s happy to be able to be able to invest in her business once again. (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
Mother of son with chronic illness
“For my son Aidan, who has Marfan syndrome, having health insurance is a matter of life and death. We simply don’t have the money right now. If we lost our subsidy, we’d have no insurance.”— Martha Robinson from Evansville, IN (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
Liver transplant survivor
“The subsidy enables me to afford health insurance. I can’t afford health insurance if I lose my subsidy. If I can’t have health insurance, I can’t have health care. If I can’t get anti-rejection drugs, I will die.” — David Tedrow from Durham, North Carolina (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
Young man with connective tissue disorder
“Before the ACA subsidy, my parents paid a whole lot out of pocket. They did so by going into extreme credit card debt—credit card debt that they knew they would never be able to recover from.”— Aidan Robinson from Greenfield, Indiana (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
Mother who suffers from severe anemia
“What scares me most about losing my premium subsidy is that I cannot think of how I would come up with those extra dollars. And, therefore, I probably wouldn’t be able to pay for my health insurance. Losing health insurance would impact my health.” — Sarah Lewis from Madison, Wisconsin (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
What would you say to the Supreme Court about losing your premium subsidy?
Sister Carol Keehan, President of the Catholic Health Association
“It is profoundly disruptive when people who have health care coverage lose it. Think about the mother in the middle of her pregnancy. Think about the family who has a child with cancer, and they’re in the middle of treatment. Think about these kinds of consequences. These are the lives of real people.” (Share: Facebook | Twitter)
See how the health care subsidies matter to Americans like Stephanie Burton, a single mom from Missouri, who doesn’t want to have to choose between paying her mortgage and paying for health care.