Federal Tax Subsidies Upheld in King v. Burwell Decision

Washington, DC – In the closely-watched case of King v. Burwell, today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that tax credits can be provided to individuals who purchase health insurance on a federally-operated exchange. The outcome of this case held enormous ramifications for the viability of the health care systems established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010.

“Today’s decision is significant for all Americans because the very existence of the system of health exchanges was at stake,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “The tax credits that were at risk in this case are at the heart of the ACA and without them, the entire system could unravel.”

“While this is a big victory for all Americans, it is a particularly important win for women,” MacNamara said. “Women have long battled relentless obstacles in obtaining comprehensive, affordable health coverage and, historically, women are substantially more likely to opt-out of health care because of the high costs.”

The League joined an amicus brief in King v. Burwell that focused on the impact of the ACA on women's health, and how the tax subsidies are essential to women's health and critical to the ACA's continued viability. 

“Recent data shows just how vital many of the ACA’s key provisions have been for women. Over nine million women are eligible for the credits. Ending ‘gender-rating’ and requiring health plans to cover maternity care and preventive services to women are two of the life-saving reforms in the ACA for women. In 2014, women made up the majority of enrollees in federally-facilitated exchanges using the tax credits to buy coverage,” MacNamara said.

“The ACA has been a transformative law for our country,” concluded MacNamara. “It has helped bring us closer to where we should be: a nation that ensures access to affordable, quality health care for all. Today’s decision reinforces the bedrock of our nation’s health care system.”


  Contact: Kelly Ceballos, 202-263-1331, kceballos@lwv.org.

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