Friend of Health Reform, Friend of the Court

10/29/2011 11:28 am ET | Updated Dec 29, 2011
  • Robert Ross President and CEO, The California Endowment

On Friday, October 28, in an action unanimously supported by our Board of Directors, The California Endowment filed an amicus curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of the federal government's request that the Court accept an appeal of a lower court decision invalidating a portion of the Affordable Care Act. While the new health reform law continues to endure all manner of political and legal attacks across the nation, it is our view that this new law offers the best pragmatic set of remedies to solve the crisis of our dysfunctional, too-expensive, and unfair health care system.

Why is our foundation doing this? It is our view that the minimum coverage requirement -- also referred to as the individual mandate -- is central to making the Affordable Care Act work. It is clearly linked to commerce because uninsured Californians using expensive emergency rooms and hospitals for needed care drive up health care costs, and negatively impact our state's business climate. Moreover, let us count the ways of why this new law is critical to our nation's health and economic viability:

  • It will provide an opportunity for most of America's nearly 50 million uninsured citizens to access quality, affordable health care.
  • It eliminates the decades-long discrimination and denial of coverage by health insurance companies against Americans who are sick or have a pre-existing health condition.
  • It provides subsidies for hard-working Americans who cannot afford health care in today's health insurance market.
  • It provides small businesses with tax credits to support the purchase of health coverage for their employees.
  • It begins the long-needed transformation of health care financing to be driven by quality, value, and results -- and not by services rendered.
  • It provides free preventive health services in a systematic approach -- which many private health insurers have already begun to do in an effort to reduce the costs associated with expensive, avoidable care later on.
  • It supports the entrepreneurial spirit of America, by strengthening the likelihood that self-employed Americans will be able to purchase affordable health coverage in an open insurance market.

This new health law is worth fighting for, and we hope you agree. If you wish to read the foundation's amicus brief, authored by preeminent attorney Kathleen M. Sullivan, click here.