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Alabama Arise director: Ruling on Affordable Care Act is huge victory for Alabamians

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 9:59 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WAFF) - This week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of preserving healthcare for millions of Americans, including 170,000 Alabamians. That’s how many Alabamians are insured under the Affordable Care Act.

The pivotal ruling left the law intact.

The challenge came from many Republican leaders who believe the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because it requires people to have health insurance. It initially had a tax penalty for not having it, but that’s gone.

Affordable health care is an issue constantly being raised in politics.

Robyn Hyden, the executive director for Alabama Arise, a non-profit organization advocating for low-income Alabamians, says the Supreme Court Decision to keep the Affordable Care Act going is a huge victory.

“Anyone making up to 150% of the federal poverty line, right now can get pretty much 100% subsidized premiums through healthcare.gov,” Hyden said.

Hyden says the creation of the Affordable Care Act about a decade ago brought many protections with it.

“We had a lot of challenges in getting quality affordable health care. For one thing, you could be denied coverage just on the basis of a preexisting condition,” she explained.

But Hyden says there’s a lot of Alabamians who don’t make enough money to qualify for the ACA.

“There’s something called the coverage gap, so initially remember the plan was if you’re under that line, Medicaid would cover you.”

But most make too much to qualify for Medicaid as well, hence falling into a gap.

“They have to make like $300 a month essentially to be low income enough to get Medicaid right now. It’s one of the most stringent income requirements in the country,” Hyden said.

Hyden says she hopes Governor Ivey joins 38 other states in the U.S. by expanding Medicaid so more Alabamians can afford health insurance.

You can sign a petition to support that here.

Also, already 200 people in North Alabama have signed up for the ACA with the help of the nonprofit THRIVE Alabama. Director Mary Elizabeth Marr says you can reach out to them with any insurance questions, or for help enrolling.

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