Labor Praises Supreme Court Decision Upholding Health Care Reform Law
For Immediate Release Contact: Josh Goldstein 202-637-5018
Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
We are pleased and relieved that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Today’s decision means that we can continue moving full speed ahead to implement and build upon the Affordable Care Act. We have no illusion that the destination has been reached, and we are more committed than ever to the hard work necessary to achieve our dream of quality health care for all.
With this decision, more than 105 million Americans will continue to benefit from the elimination of lifetime limits and the coverage of preventive services without cost-sharing, and more than 6 million young adults will remain covered by their parents’ health care plans. Seniors will continue to save money on prescription drugs as the Part D donut hole closes over the next eight years; already over 5 million seniors have saved $3.7 billion on prescriptions in 2010 and 2011. And insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, charge women more or drop coverage for those who get sick.
To assure that 33 million Americans will be able to obtain health care coverage through the exchanges and Medicaid beginning in 2014, all states, including those that waited for this decision to be issued, must now do their job and act without delay. We are troubled by the Court’s decision limiting the ability of the federal government to encourage states to extend Medicaid coverage to certain lower income individuals, and it would be unconscionable for states to refuse to extend that coverage, using today’s decision as a pretext.
The Affordable Care Act is our first step in expanding health care coverage, improving care and beginning to get control of health care costs. We will need to build on the achievements of the Act, Medicare and Medicaid in order to fix our broken health care system and advance along the path to a more equitable and cost-effective system.
We believe the way forward is to build on the Affordable Care Act reforms that strengthen Medicare’s historic leadership in containing health care costs, without cutting benefits. A simple indisputably constitutional solution is to allow Americans of all ages to buy into an improved Medicare program. We believe every baby in America—whether rich or poor—deserves the same standard of quality care, and we will keep moving forward until we make this a reality.
We cannot afford to go backward, but that is what Mitt Romney and the Republican leadership in Congress would do. Their prescriptions would not expand coverage or control health care costs. Instead, they would shift costs to working families, retirees and the states.
The election this November provides a clear choice between the President, who has stood for fairness and for working men and women, and Romney, who urges repealing health insurance protection for working families. We stand with the President.
June 28, 2012
Contact: Becky Moeller or
Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the central elements of the Affordable Care Act:
“Working families in Texas have cause for historic celebration today. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act provides new validation to a century-long movement to provide affordable access to decent health care for all Americans.”
“The Affordable Care Act is by no means perfect, but it is a good-faith, compromise effort to address an explosion in health care costs that threatened to place basic health care needs out of the reach of ordinary workers. In Texas, the law has helped young workers struggling to find their place in our economy and retirees who might otherwise not be able to afford preventive care. It has improved or saved the lives of more than 4,000 Texans who otherwise would have run afoul of ‘pre-existing condition’ clauses preventing them from obtaining insurance.”
“The political spin off today’s ruling is doing justice to whirling dervishes, but we prefer to focus on the historic nature of the Supreme Court’s decision. The individual mandate is a bipartisan idea, first proposed by Republicans. Democratic and Republican presidents starting with Teddy Roosevelt have attacked the problem of lack of access to health care. Legal experts will dissect the path to this decision for years to come. There can be no doubt that for millions of Texans, today’s decision opens a new era and marks a heightened recognition that when it comes to health care, we are all in this together.”
© AFL-CIO. All rights reserved.
Photographs and illustrations, as well as text, cannot be used without permission from the AFL-CIO.