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The Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health), applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling Thursday upholding the availability of tax credits that make health insurance more affordable to everyone who meets the eligibility criteria through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The decision means millions of people in all states and in all types of health insurance marketplaces will be able to afford their health insurance because they can count on federal financial assistance.

Connecticut is a national leader in ACA implementation and the Connecticut experience only underscores the value of tax credits.  They have helped our state’s uninsured rate drop from 8 percent to 4 percent and have contributed to closing coverage gaps in communities of color.  Of the 110,000 plus Connecticut consumers who purchased a plan through Access Health CT, over 76 percent have done so with the help of tax credits.

President Obama addressing the nation following Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
President Obama addressing the nation following Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
President Obama addressing the nation following Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

In celebrating the SCOTUS decision as a victory for national health care policy, we pause to appreciate how tax credits make a difference for Connecticut families.  How do we know they make a difference?

We know because for the past two years, CT Health has provided grant resources to support community-based enrollment efforts. This includes resources to fund the navigators and in-person assisters who have helped everyday people learn about their coverage and financial assistance options.

We also know because our own family and friends benefit from tax credits.  For example, Christine Coleman is the daughter of one of our staff members.  Christine, husband, Tom, infant daughter, and toddler son live in East Granby.  The family buys their coverage through Access Health CT.  Both parents work for small employers who are unable to offer coverage.  They enjoy good health; though two pregnancies in three years have shown them that health care is not inexpensive.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, tax credits designed to make health insurance more affordable for middle class families, a plan for the entire Coleman family now costs what it used to for just Christine and one child pre-ACA.  Christine reports that many of her friends also buy health insurance through Access Health CT with tax credits.

The high court’s ruling means that ACA implementation will continue to have a key lever for improving the health and health care of the whole country.  CT Health shares the ACA’s goals of improving health outcomes, reducing health disparities, and improving the efficiency of the health care delivery system.

The ACA is working for Connecticut.

Patricia Baker is the president and chief executive officer of the Connecticut Health Foundation.

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