Ruling Is Good News for Communities of Color, Low-Income Americans

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

WASHINGTON – Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming that federal tax subsidies to purchase health insurance are available in states that did not set up their own health insurance exchange is good news for low-income Americans and communities of color, policy experts at The Greenlining Institute said today.

“The Supreme Court did the right thing, focusing on what Congress intended rather than nit-picking over wording that wasn’t perfect,” said Greenlining Institute Health Policy Director Tahira Cunningham. “Millions of Americans can now breathe a sigh of relief that their health insurance won’t be taken away, and it will still be affordable.”

“African Americans and Latinos were much more likely to be uninsured, and the ACA has started to close that gap,” Cunningham added. “It’s helped millions of low-income Americans of all races get health insurance for the first time.”

The Affordable Care Act has helped roughly 16 million Americans obtain health insurance, cutting the uninsured rate by more than one third since the law took effect. A recent Gallup survey found that gains in coverage have been particularly strong for African Americans, Latinos, and those with annual incomes under $36,000.

Cunningham noted that the case would not have affected California, which took the lead in creating its own exchange, Covered California. Still, she added, much work remains. “The ACA is a good law,” Cunningham said, “but roughly 30 million Americans remain uninsured. We can and must do better. Covered California must continue to improve its outreach to communities of color, especially to Californians whose first language is something other than English. California just took a big step toward covering undocumented children, but in the long term the legislature must still pass the Health for All Act, SB 4, to truly cover everybody.”