Raising The Stakes

The successful end to the second open enrollment period for health care only raises the stakes of King v. Burwell.

Another Successful Open Enrollment Period Ends, Raising The Stakes For King v. Burwell

Sunday marked the end of the Affordable Care Act’s second open enrollment period, and it was a success. More than 11.4 million people signed up for insurance through the marketplace. More people will sign up in the next few days, as the enrollment period has been extended through this weekend for people who started their applications, but were unable to complete them.

Of the 11.4 million people enrolled, more than 8.6 million signed up through federally-facilitated exchanges and around 6.5 million qualified for tax credits, making their health coverage more affordable. In addition to this good news, last week we shared a few other highlights from the 2015 enrollment period, including the fact that nearly 80 percent of people had the option of choosing a plan with a monthly premium of $100 or less.

Celebrations of the successful enrollment period have been subdued, however, for one big reason: the looming threat of the Supreme Court case King v. Burwell. The case, as we’ve explained before, threatens to take tax credits away from the millions enrolled in the federal exchange, cripple the Affordable Care Act, and send the entire health care industry into chaos.

This case is about more than statistics and more than politics. The millions of Americans who could lose tax credits and the peace of mind of health insurance are real people — who are now threatened by a decision in the hands of just nine Supreme Court justices. That is why the Center for American Progress has launched a website, HearTheNine.org, contrasting these nine justices with the stories of nine Americans whose access to health care depends on the Supreme Court’s decision.

Six of these individuals have been featured in the past two weeks, and today, the campaign tells the final three stories:

  • Rachel is a small business owner and new mom from North Carolina who previously had limited insurance, but couldn’t afford a health plan that covered the maternity care she needed. Even a plan that covered her alone and included maternity care would have cost $600 per month. Now, thanks to the ACA, she is able to afford healthcare for herself, her husband, and her baby for just $10 per month.
  • Lisa is a retail professional from Nebraska who lost her job and her insurance because of the recession and went without coverage for more than 6 years. Now she has enrolled in coverage on the exchange that has a monthly premium of $33 per month.
  • Vaughn wanted to take his dream job at a small PR firm in Atlanta, but it didn’t offer health care coverage. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, he was able to find affordable coverage with financial assistance and take the job.

In addition to these nine powerful stories featured online, today CAP also released a video explaining the stakes of King v. Burwell and telling the story of Jennifer, a Tennessee woman for whom coverage under the Affordable Care Act could mean the difference between life and death.

BOTTOM LINE: The successful end to the second open enrollment period for health care only raises the stakes of King v. Burwell. Now, because of ideologically-charged conservatives who continue to try to dismantle President Obama’s landmark legislation, nine Supreme Court justices hold the fate of nearly nine million Americans’ health insurance in their hands. Visit HearTheNine.org to learn more about the case and the stories of real people who could be affected.

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