By Millicent Cripe, Policy Intern
“We Gather Together” by Flickr user Paul Curto is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (Photo does not represent the Coleman family.)
While today’s Supreme Court decision on King v. Burwell centered on the law, it’s a victory because of the real people — millions across the country — who count on federal tax subsidies to afford high-quality coverage.
We’re celebrating thinking about the people in our lives who benefit from tax credits in Connecticut — like Christine Coleman, the daughter of a Connecticut Health Foundation staff member. The subsidies make Christine, a graduate of Simsbury High School and University of Connecticut, just one of Connecticut’s many Affordable Care Act (ACA) success stories.
Christine and her husband Tom recently moved into their first home in East Granby with their two young children and their two dogs. Jack, age two and a half, is getting used to the role of big brother to his baby sister Paige, whose very delivery was covered with the help of the ACA.
Like many working Americans, Christine and her husband are both employed by small businesses that are unable to offer group insurance benefits. Before the ACA, Christine purchased expensive private coverage for herself and Jack, but they couldn’t afford to insure Tom. Thanks to the tax credits, they can now afford to cover the whole family through Access Health CT. This is the first time Tom has had coverage in over six years.
Christine says she can’t imagine how they could cover the whole family without the subsidy; it’s not extra money, but a necessity that lets them pay all their bills.
It was important to Christine that the family be able to continue to see their doctors, especially their much-loved pediatrician in West Hartford. Their pediatrician knows the family—Jack knows his doctor—and both parents rest assured knowing that their children are starting life with quality well-child care and that they are protected if an emergency should occur.
And, they aren’t alone, either. Christine reports that many of her friends — exactly the young adults that policy makers want to be signing up — also count on tax subsidies to purchase coverage from Access Health CT.
Subsidies are working in Connecticut and across the country. They were designed to make coverage affordable for middle-class families like the Colemans. While as Connecticut residents the Colemans were safe either way, today’s ruling will keep the promise of affordable health insurance a reality for millions who happen to live in healthcare.gov states. The financial assistance that makes a real difference for real families has been protected.