Supreme Court dismisses ACA challenge, AOA-backed provisions remain in full effect

June 25, 2015
Member feedback informed comments to CMS.

In an historic ruling issued earlier today, the United States Supreme Court has dismissed a legal challenge to the Obama Administration's interpretation and implementation of a major provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In the case, formally known as King v. Burwell, the Court examined the language of the law and ruled that the federal government is able to provide subsidies for more than 6 million Americans purchasing health insurance in states that have a federally facilitated state health insurance exchange rather than an exchange established by the state.

While this was the first major challenge reviewed by the Court to the meaning of an ACA provision central to the law's foundation, this case is only one of many legal challenges. While the ruling removes much of the remaining uncertainty about the overall fate of the ACA in the courts, the AOA believes that it has also cleared the way for new Capitol Hill activity aimed at making small or larger changes to the law.

AOA-backed provisions—including the Harkin provider nondiscrimination law, the designation of pediatric vision care as an essential health benefit embedded within health plans sold under the law, and the exemption for eyeglasses and contact lenses from a medical device excise tax—remain in full effect. However, the AOA is now preparing for the increasing likelihood that these and other provisions could be targeted in any future efforts to make changes to the law.

AOA continues to be a voice for patients

Battling organized medicine, insurers and others with an anti-optometry agenda, AOA fought for and won a valued seat at the Washington, D.C., table as the debate over health reform continued. And, as key health reform decisions are made in the nation's capital and in statehouses across the country in the coming weeks and months, the AOA will continue working to advance pro-access, pro-patient solutions aimed at ensuring that doctors of optometry and their patients are treated fairly under health reform and that policymakers and others fully understand the central role that optometrists play in enhanced care delivery and improved health outcomes.

While today's ruling does put some contentious issues to rest, it also clearly points to other pressing health care policy questions that still need to be decided. To ensure that optometry continues to be heard loud and clear, AOA members must recommit to the strongest possible links to U.S. Senators and House members through the AOA Federal Keyperson Program and AOA-PAC

Now, with new and even more challenging battles ahead, and groups with an anti-optometry agenda even more intent on defeat, it's essential for all ODs to join together to make the AOA even stronger, its voice even louder and its victories even more sweeping.

Follow aoa.org/news for further updates and analysis. In the meantime, please visit the AOA's Advocacy web page at aoa.org/advocacy for the latest or contact the Washington Office team at 1.800.365.2219 or by email at ImpactWashingtonDC@aoa.org with any questions or comments.

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