National Patient Groups Defend Availability of Premium Tax Credits in Federal and State Marketplaces

Amicus Brief Filed in Federal Appeals Court by American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, and American Heart Association

February 19, 2014 Categories: Advocacy News

WASHINGTON – February 19, 2014 – The nation’s leading groups representing patients and survivors of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke have jointly filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit arguing that Congress intended to provide premium tax credits on both state-run and federal marketplaces as a way to make health coverage more affordable.

The American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association filed as amicus curiae in the appeal of a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in the case of Halbig v. Sebelius. That decision found “the plain text of the [Affordable Care Act], the statutory structure, and the statutory purpose make clear that Congress intended to make premium tax credits available on both state-run and federally-facilitated Exchanges.”

Following is a statement from the four organizations:

“Our organizations, which serve tens of millions of people across the country who are living with or have survived cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, support provisions of the Affordable Care Act that improve access to health care for people with  chronic diseases. On behalf of those patients, we urge the Court of Appeals to affirm the District Court’s decision and rule that people who purchase a health plan in either a federal or state marketplace and who meet income eligibility requirements  can receive tax credits to make coverage more affordable.

“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 those 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 failures of the health insurance market and the tragic consequences for patients in need of treatment and follow-up care by providing federal tax credits to make coverage more affordable. The ACA’s clear intent was to make tax credits available in all marketplaces so consumers could avoid the devastating financial and health consequences that can come with being uninsured.”

View the full amicus brief

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

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

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 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 or call any of our offices around the country.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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