Click to view an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court signed by APHA, the the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University and 19 deans from schools of public health and public health programs. Photo by APHA

In one month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a case that threatens the Affordable Care Act and gains made in reforming the U.S. health system. Last week, APHA, the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University and 19 deans from schools of public health and public health programs signed onto an amicus brief outlying the ramifications of a ruling against the Obama administration.

Among them, such a decision would leave millions of Americans uninsured and could result in more than 9,800 preventable deaths per year.

“The Supreme Court’s decision on King v. Burwell is the difference between lives saved and lives lost, a healthier nation or a sicker one,” APHA Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said in a news release. “A ruling in the plaintiff’s favor would force millions of Americans to lose health coverage, and we know being uninsured is a driver of preventable deaths. The architects of the ACA knew this when they wrote it. Its legislative record is clear; the law is intended to make care affordable and accessible even in the federally run exchanges. It is called the Affordable Care Act for a reason. The court should rule in the administration’s favor.”

According to the brief, the ruling will decide whether low- and moderate-income people living in the 34 states that rely on the federal health insurance exchange will still be able to get the subsidies they need to make health insurance affordable.

“If the Supreme Court rules against the administration, millions of Americans will be left without the protection of health coverage,” said APHA member Lynn R. Goldman, MD, MS, MPH, Michael and Lori Milken Dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, and one of the public health deans joining the brief. “Such a ruling would weaken the ACA and put millions of people at risk for illness and death that could have been prevented or managed with the appropriate medical care.”

View the brief in full at APHA online.