March of Dimes Files Amicus Brief in King v. Burwell

Brief urges the Supreme Court to maintain access to tax credits for health coverage

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA | Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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Cynthia Pellegrini

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The March of Dimes has joined other organizations in filing an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court urging rejection of the petitioners’ arguments in King v. Burwell, a case challenging the availability of tax credits to purchase health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA).

“The March of Dimes is deeply concerned about the consequences of the loss of affordable insurance for healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes,” stated March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse. “This case will determine whether millions of Americans, including pregnant women, women of childbearing age, and children and youth with special health care needs, will be able to purchase affordable coverage to become and remain healthy.”

The petitioners in King v. Burwell have argued that select phrases in the ACA should be interpreted to mean that Congress intended to make tax credits to purchase health insurance available only to individuals living in states that operate their own Exchanges. Since 34 states have elected not to establish their own Exchanges, this would leave an estimated 8 million people without access to tax credits, and therefore unlikely to be able to afford coverage.

The brief makes three key legal arguments:

  • The ACA made specific connections between Exchanges and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that do not function as intended if the petitioners’ argument is accepted.
  • The express purpose of the ACA was to provide access to affordable health insurance for all Americans. A legal interpretation that ends access to tax credits, and therefore affordable coverage, for millions of Americans contradicts that purpose. 
  • A key goal of the ACA was to provide access to coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, such as pregnant women. Without affordable coverage, they will be unable to access vital health services, an outcome that was clearly not intended by the law.

The brief was also signed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Children’s Health Fund, Children’s Hospitals Association, First Focus, and National Physicians Alliance, as well as several individuals with health conditions who have been able to obtain affordable coverage with tax credits provided under the Affordable Care Act.

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

Visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.