Patient Advocates Disappointed with Court Decision on Premium Tax Credits in Federal Marketplaces

National Patient Groups Filed Amici Brief in U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Supporting Availability of Premium Tax Credits in Federal and State Marketplaces

July 22, 2014 Categories: Advocacy News

WASHINGTON – July 22, 2014 – The nation’s leading groups representing patients with and survivors of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke issued the following statement today in response to the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in the case of Halbig v. Burwell.

The American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association filed an amici brief in the case (then Halbig v. Sebelius) in February arguing that Congress intended to provide premium tax credits to consumers in both state-run and federal marketplaces as a way to make health coverage more affordable. The amici brief is available at http://bit.ly/1c2IwqA.

Following is the groups’ joint statement:

“On behalf of the tens of millions of people nationwide who have experienced cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, we are deeply disappointed with the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which denies premium tax credits that make health coverage more affordable to people who buy a plan in the federally facilitated marketplace. Two federal district courts, including the lower court in this case, previously ruled that tax credits are available in the federal marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. Today’s decision will not be the final word on this matter.

“Being uninsured can have disastrous consequences for people with chronic diseases. Numerous studies have shown that people without health insurance are less likely to receive screenings and other services that can prevent disease or detect dangerous conditions early, and are more likely to delay treatment. For example:

  • The uninsured are less likely than people with health coverage to be screened for cancer, more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at advanced stages and less likely to survive the disease. Regardless of insurance status, cancer patients are more than two and a half times as likely to file for bankruptcy as people who do not have cancer.
  • Uninsured patients with cardiovascular disease have higher mortality rates and poorer blood pressure control than people with insurance, and uninsured stroke victims experience greater neurological impairment, longer hospital stays and a higher risk of death than the insured. More than half of cardiovascular patients report having difficulty paying for medical care, and many of those delay treatment and care as a result.
  • Patients without health insurance are twice as likely to have a complication from diabetes as patients with insurance coverage. Uninsured people with diabetes are more than 30 percent more likely that those with coverage to visit an emergency room.

“Congress addressed the numerous gaps in the health insurance market by providing federal tax credits to make coverage more affordable. Congress’ clear intent was to make tax credits available in federally-facilitated and state-run marketplaces so consumers could avoid the devastating financial and health consequences that can come with being uninsured.

“We hope other courts considering similar statutory questions conclude that both federally-facilitated and state-run marketplaces should offer premium tax credits that make lifesaving health care more affordable for millions of patients and survivors.”

View the full amici brief http://bit.ly/1c2IwqA.

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; by helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.  ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes® and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit www.heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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For media inquiries, please contact Retha Sherrod at 202-785-7929 or retha.sherrod@heart.org.


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