Patient Advocates: Supreme Court Decision Ensures Continued Access to Critical Care
June 25, 2015
The American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association and National Multiple Sclerosis Society responded enthusiastically to today's U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of King v. Burwell. The organizations submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in January urging the Court to rule that Congress intended for tax credits to be available to all eligible Americans in the federal and state marketplaces. Following are statements from the organizations:
"Today's decision ensures that more than 6 million low- and middle-income people nationwide will continue to receive the financial assistance they need to afford health coverage," said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN, the American Cancer Society's advocacy affiliate. "It means that millions of people with serious health conditions such as cancer will continue to have access to essential treatment and care, and millions of others at risk for disease will be able to afford preventive screenings and tests that could save their lives."
"Congress responded to gaping holes in the health insurance system that left millions of people – particularly those affected by serious chronic conditions like diabetes – unable to afford health coverage, likely to face overwhelming health care costs and dangerously susceptible to illness and disability," said Kevin L. Hagan, CEO of the American Diabetes Association. "We cannot significantly improve access to quality, affordable health coverage unless federal financial assistance is available in federal and state marketplaces nationwide."
"We commend the Court for not halting premium tax credits in the federal marketplaces, enabling an estimated 6.4 million people in 34 states to keep the assistance that makes their health insurance affordable. As a result, these patients can continue to focus on their healing and recovery, instead of worrying about losing their coverage and care," said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. "Now that the Affordable Care Act has survived two major Supreme Court challenges, it's time for our nation to concentrate on improving the law and enrolling as many uninsured Americans as possible so everyone can receive the quality health and preventive care they need."
"The evidence demonstrates that access to quality, affordable health coverage greatly improves, and may even save, lives," said Cyndi Zagieboylo, president and CEO of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. "The uninsured are more likely to suffer serious complications or die from conditions such as MS, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke than are people with health insurance. Being uninsured with a serious chronic disease can also result in more expensive care, a greater risk of personal bankruptcy and higher health care costs system-wide."
The organizations' brief cited numerous scientific studies detailing the significant health risks associated with being uninsured. For example:
- The uninsured are more than four times as likely as those with health coverage to be diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer and 1.4 times as likely to be diagnosed with advanced-stage cervical cancer. Uninsured patients with stage IV colorectal cancer are nearly four times as likely as patients with private insurance to go without cancer treatment altogether.
- Uninsured patients with cardiovascular disease experience higher mortality rates and poorer blood pressure control than the insured.
- Uninsured people who suffer the most common type of stroke have greater neurological impairments, longer hospital stays and up to a 56 percent higher risk of death than the insured.
- Patients with no health insurance are twice as likely to have a diabetic complication as patients with health insurance.
- Access to health insurance can determine whether a patient with MS gets a prompt diagnosis and receives early and ongoing treatment, which is essential to reducing the frequency and severity of relapses and slowing the progression of the disease.
View the brief at http://bit.ly/1JY7cRj.
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. 5 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.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society mobilizes people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS. In 2014, the Society invested $50.2 million to advance more than 380 research projects around the world in order to stop MS in its tracks, restore what has been lost and end MS forever. Through its comprehensive nation-wide network of programs and services, it also helped more than one million people affected by MS connect to the people, information and resources needed to live their best lives.