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Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act Subsidies in All 50 States

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via Barack Obama

Today, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) insurance subsidies as legal in a 6-3 ruling.  The decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who need financial assistance to purchase health insurance, and means that tax credits for middle class and low-income Americans will be available in all 50 states.

The King v. Burwell case argued that the federal government exchange, Healthcare.gov, did not have the legal authority to distribute tax credits to help middle class and low-income Americans purchase coverage. Since 34 states rely on Healthcare.gov as their health insurance marketplace, a decision in favor of the challengers would have undermined the entire purpose of the ACA and put health coverage out of reach for 6.4 million people.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. sided with the majority, and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented.

Working America has Health Care Options for Those Who Still Need Coverage

WAWorking America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, has a Health Care program available to UFCW members who don’t have collectively bargained health insurance. The program provides a simple way for members to learn about health care options, the costs, and how to sign up for insurance. With the health care open enrollment ending date two weeks away, it is important for members to check out the Working America Health Care program and get themselves and their families covered before February 15. If members don’t have health coverage during 2015, they may have to pay a penalty.

The Working America Health Care program offers members an easy way to help them find the best plan that fits their needs. With the program members can:

-Have someone help walk them through tax credits and subsidies to pay for health insurance; and

-Talk to licensed health care professionals who can help them pick the most affordable insurance option.

If members sign up for an insurance plan that is supported by the Working America Health Care program, members will also receive access to a personalized Health Advocate service. The Health Advocate service can help coordinate care and answer any coverage claims or clinical questions.

Visit the Working America Health Care program website to enroll in health insurance and then access a Health Advocate.

Below please also find an informational flyer in English and Spanish.

Member Spotlight: Towanda Carter

towandaTowanda Carter was recently recognized by UFCW Region 1 for her outstanding service as a union member and for helping her fellow workers, both at her own workplace and elsewhere.

After noticing unfair treatment of workers at her job working at Catholic Charities Brooklyn & Queens Inc. in 2005, Towanda and her coworkers filed to unionize with the UFCW Local 888. Her strong morale and sense of member engagement among her colleagues helped them win their first union contract in 2006.

Towanda says that working in a metroarea at a non-profit revealed to her how people are often mistreated at work, especially when they are vulnerable. Although she works for a charitable faith-based organization, management had a very anti-union stance.  The Workers were under-paid, demoralized and lacking adequate company health care–leaving many to seek charity care. Many could not provide for their families without assistance from social welfare programs. That’s why Towanda was so adamant about spreading the word about the benefits of being a union member.

Years later, Towanda is a Chief Shop Steward, representing her fellow union members on both the Bargaining and Labor Management Committees. She has also expanded her efforts to help working people throughout her community, not just her own workplace.

As a Medical Coordinator serving the less fortunate for twenty years, Towanda has been a voice of justice for her fellow union members since the beginning. She has seen her coworkers through countless grievances and group grievances, and mediations and arbitrations–all as part of their ongoing struggle to keep their employer accountable to the collective bargaining agreement they all worked so hard for.

Towanda says she was surprised to learn she had been picked to be recognized for a member award, but honored as well. Her advice for other members trying to ensure that workers have respect on the job and at the bargaining table? “Be proactive. Be active!”

Union members and activists like Towanda make our union strong. Standing together, we can all make a difference.