Supreme Court Upholds the Affordable Care Act Keeping in Place Coverage for Millions of Californians

For immediate release: Thursday, June 17, 2021

For more information contact:
Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications, Health Access California,, 916-532-2128 (cell)


  • After a decade of attacks, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet again found that the Affordable Care Act, which includes protections for pre-existing conditions and federal help to afford care for 5 million Californians, remains constitutional and intact.
  • The court ruled that the the opponents to the law lacked standing to even bring the case. 
  • Having seen the biggest gains under the ACA, California had the most to lose. Advocates celebrate the decision, and vow to continue to the work to improve and expand the ACA toward the goal of a universal, affordable, equitable health system.

SACRAMENTO, CA – In a huge victory for Americans and Californians, the U.S. Supreme Court today issued a 7-2 ruling in California v. Texas that keeps the Affordable Care Act (ACA) intact for the over 30 million Americans and 5 million Californians who rely on it’s protections and financial assistance. The Court found that the plaintiffs who sought to overturn the law lacked the standing to challenge it in the first place.

“After a decade of partisan attacks, the ACA remains the law of the land, helping millions of Californians access and afford care,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care advocacy coalition which has been fighting for the ACA since 2008. “The idea that we could have taken health care away during a pandemic was simply unthinkable, and we are relieved that this ridiculous case was finally rejected along with past partisan attacks. Millions of Californians can now rest a little easier knowing that their health care is no longer in limbo.”

In California v. Texas, several state attorneys general, led by the state of Texas and then president Trump’s Administration, argued to strike down the Affordable Care Act, and with it, patient protections, including for people with pre-existing conditions, the financial assistance for many low- and middle-income Americans to afford coverage, the Medicaid expansions, and much more. California’s then Attorney General Xavier Becerra was granted standing to lead the appeal and California’s Department of Justice continued to lead the ACA’s defense even as Becerra was confirmed to serve as the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary.

“California had the biggest drop of the uninsured rate of all 50 states under the ACA. California has gone further than any other state in implementing and improving the ACA, and thus had the most to lose,” said Wright. “This ruling spells relief for so many Californians, including the 1.5 million who get financial help to afford health plans in Covered California, 4 million who have Medi-Cal coverage under the ACA, and the millions more who get benefits, patient protections, and peace of mind for never being denied coverage for a pre-existing condition.”

“With the ACA intact, we urge Californians to sign up for coverage as soon as possible, especially now since the passage of the American Rescue Plan has made premiums for Californians lower than ever. We hope this decision provides momentum for Congress to make this additional affordability assistance permanent and take other actions to expand coverage,” said Wright. “While we hold accountable those who sought to take away health coverage and consumer protections from millions, we should focus on the unfinished work at the federal and state level to expand coverage and improve affordability. Hopefully this decision helps support state policymakers making state budget decisions in the next few days on how much we further expand Medi-Cal, provide greater affordability in Covered California, and have an Office of Health Care Affordability to help contain costs for all.”

For more on California’s efforts to block the federal sabotage of the ACA, see this Health Access fact sheet

For more on what was at risk in California if the ACA was fully repealed, visit our website.