Press Release: Statement on Affordable Care Act and North Carolina’s Children

Supreme Court ruling upholds health care for millions of American families

By: Kaylan Szafranski | June 2021

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June 17, 2021 — NC Child applauds today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on Texas v. California, a case that threatened to overturn the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). Instead, the court threw out the challenge to the law, ensuring continued health coverage for more than 31 million Americans, including millions of children.

“Overturning the ACA would have been disastrous for the health and economic security of North Carolina families,” said Kaylan Szafranski, Health Program Director at NC Child. “Children in North Carolina made huge gains in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act — particularly Black, Latinx, and Native children. Kids’ coverage is more important now than ever, as we fight a global pandemic.”

Children’s Health Care in North Carolina

In 2008, before the Affordable Care Act was enacted, 10% of North Carolina’s children had no health coverage. Today that level is closer to 4%, with an estimated 142,000 North Carolina children uninsured in 2019.

If the Supreme Court had ruled to overturn the ACA, an estimated 387,000 North Carolinians (adults and children) stood to lose their health coverage – increasing the rolls of the uninsured in our state by over 30%, according to estimates from the Urban Institute. This would have been one of largest projected losses of insurance in the country.

Protections from Discrimination

Before the Affordable Care Act, insurers could discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Children with special health care needs and chronic health conditions were often charged higher premiums, excluded from coverage, or denied coverage outright. The ACA also bans lifetime or annual limits that would cap how much an insurer would pay for medical care each year or over a person’s lifetime. These limits were devastating for families of children with special health care needs.

“Thanks to this historic law, families have unprecedented access to health care, including no-cost preventive care, and the ability for parents to keep their children on their employer-sponsored health insurance plans until they turn 26,” Szafranski said. “We celebrate the court’s ruling today, and we will keep working until every child in North Carolina has coverage to get the essential health care they need.”