Monthly Archives

March 2021

ACA At 11: President Barack Obama Joins Protect Our Care, Health Care Storytellers to Reflect on the Success of the Affordable Care Act

Watch the Event Here

Washington, DC — Ahead of the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama joined Protect Our Care and health care advocates to discuss how the law has benefitted millions of Americans since its passage 11 years ago and the work still needed to ensure all Americans have access to affordable, quality health care. The former president reflected on the ACA, which was one of the most significant legislative achievements of his presidency, and the impact of the the American Rescue Plan, which further expands coverage and lower costs. On the 11th anniversary week of the law, millions of Americans now have access to care, reduced costs, and protections for pre-existing conditions.

“The American Rescue Plan built on the success we had in 2009 and 2010. It’s consolidating, protecting, improving, and building upon the kind of health care that we need. But we’ve still got more work to do — even with the American Rescue Plan,” said President Barack Obama. “Our success in the past should not be a source of complacency, but rather an inspiration to keep going until every single person in America has the kind of coverage that they need. We are one of the few countries on Earth with this much wealth that does not provide health insurance as a just, basic right to its citizens. The Affordable Care Act, and now the America Rescue Plan, have closed that gap, but still folks are falling through cracks. It’s all of our jobs to make sure that we build on these previous successes.”

“I had the honor of serving in the Obama administration where I was responsible for helping manage the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. I saw firsthand that President Obama was deeply committed to health care. He didn’t just fight to pass the ACA, he also worked tirelessly to make it a success,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “President Biden is building on the success of the ACA with the passage of the American Rescue Plan, the biggest expansion of health care in over a decade. Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan without a single Republican vote even though the law enjoys overwhelmingly bipartisan support among voters. It contains historic provisions that will reduce premiums for millions of Americans, including those who lost their jobs during the pandemic, and invest in addressing racial disparities in our health care system. The significance of the Affordable Care Act and the American Rescue Plan can’t be overstated.”

“I’m here today because Barack Obama saved my life. Four years ago, I walked into a doctor’s office with a nagging cough, and I walked out with a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Without the Affordable Care Act, I never could have afforded the six months of chemotherapy and a month of radiation it took for me to be in remission today,” said Laura Packard, stage four cancer survivor and health care advocate. “I used to have junk insurance. If I still had that insurance, today I would be bankrupt or dead. The day after my first chemotherapy session, Republicans in the U.S. House voted to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and strip away the care that was keeping me alive. Not only did I have to fight cancer, but also the President and Congress just to stay alive. Thankfully, we won.”

ACA At 11: Coverage For Children & Young Adults

Protect Our Care Is Marking the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act With 11 Days Celebrating the Success of the Health Care Law

Eleven years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land and millions of young Americans gained coverage and critical protections as a result. Almost three million children nationwide gained coverage thanks to the ACA. Millions of young adults also experienced coverage gains and improved access to health care as a result of the health care law. 

After four long years of Republican efforts to repeal and sabotage the ACA, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are now working to build on the strong foundation of the law to expand coverage, lower costs, and reduce racial disparities in health care. On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. Health care for children and young adults is especially important as the nation continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. As millions of families have lost their health care as a result of pandemic-related job losses, the ACA and Medicaid expansion have given them a place to turn to for comprehensive, affordable coverage. 

Thanks To The ACA:

Young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26. Because of the ACA, roughly 2.3 million young adults have coverage because they can stay on their parents coverage until age 26.

More Than 28 Million Children & Young Adults With Pre-Existing Conditions Gained Protections. Thanks to the ACA, children with pre-existing conditions like asthma and diabetes cannot be charged more or denied coverage by their insurers. Nationwide, 135 million Americans have a pre-existing condition, including more than 17 million people under the age of 18 and 11.3 million people aged 18 to 24. And now, millions of Americans who have contracted the coronavirus are also protected from discrimination by their insurance companies. 

Free Preventive Services And Annual Check-Ups. The ACA guarantees well-child visits with no cost-sharing for patients. These visits help prevent the development of chronic conditions and increase vaccinations among children. Plans sold on the ACA must also cover preventive pediatric health benefits, including oral health and vision services. More than 40 million children with private insurance are also guaranteed access to free preventive care and are protected from lifetime and annual limits.

Ended annual and lifetime limits. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer put annual or lifetime limits on the care you receive, which is critical for children with complex medical needs. According to First Focus, without these protections, “children with cancer and other pediatric conditions, or babies that were born prematurely and spent the first weeks or months of their lives in the neonatal intensive care unit, could exhaust their annual and lifetime limits in a short time.” 

Improvements To CHIP & Medicaid Coverage. The ACA improved children’s coverage by increasing the federal matching rate for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and standardizing–and in many states, expanding–Medicaid eligibility for children. The ACA also ensures that states provide Medicaid coverage to children in foster care up to age 26. 

Medicaid Expansion Improved Coverage & Access To Care For Young Americans 

Research confirms expanding access to Medicaid for parents has had ripple effects for their children. At the same time, states that continue to reject expansion are limiting children’s health care access: 

Uninsurance Rates Among Young Adults Fell By Nearly Half As A Result Of The ACA’s Medicaid Expansion. “Uninsurance among young adults ages 19 to 25 fell 14.2 percentage points between 2011 and 2018, from 30.2 percent to 16.0 percent (figure 1). The share of young adults covered by Medicaid increased 4.3 percentage points over that period, from 11.1 percent to 15.4 percent. Changes in both uninsurance and Medicaid coverage were concentrated between 2013 and 2016, when most major ACA coverage provisions were implemented, including Medicaid expansion and the establishment of the Marketplaces.” [Urban Institute, February 2021

  • Medicaid Expansion Improved Access To Care For Young Adults. “Between 2011 and 2018, access to health care improved for young adults in both expansion and nonexpansion states. For young adults in low-income households and young adults with lower educational attainment, Medicaid expansion was associated with an increased likelihood of having a personal doctor. It was also associated with a large decrease in the likelihood of delaying needed care because of cost in the past year among non-Hispanic Black young adults.” [Urban Institute, February 2021

Medicaid Expansion Led To Gains In Coverage For Children As Well As Parents. A study in Health Affairs found that “710,000 children gained public coverage when their parents enrolled in Medicaid between 2013 and 2015. If the remaining 19 non-expansion states expanded Medicaid, 200,000 additional children would gain health coverage through existing programs. The effect was largest among children whose parents gained Medicaid eligibility through the expansion.” [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, 1/12/18]

When Parents Have Medicaid, Their Children Are More Likely To Have Regular Care. As summarized by Georgetown University’s Center on Children and Families, recent research finds that “Parents enrolled in Medicaid have children who are 29 percentage points more likely to receive a well-child visit. The relationship is strongest for families with household incomes between 100% and 200% [of the federal poverty line]. In these families, parents enrolled in Medicaid have children who are 45 percentage points more likely to receive a well-child visit.” [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, 1/12/18]

Children In States That Have Not Expanded Medicaid Are Almost Twice As Likely To Be Uninsured — And That Gap Is Growing. “Growing numbers of uninsured children are concentrating in states that have not expanded Medicaid. Between 2016 and 2019, the child uninsured rate in non-expansion states grew at nearly three times the rate of expansion states. Non-expansion states saw their child uninsured rate jump from 6.5 percent to 8.1 percent during the period examined while expansion states saw it increase from 3.5 percent to 4.1 percent (see figure 3 ). Moreover, two non-expansion states, Texas and Florida, were responsible for 41 percent of the coverage losses for children over the three-year period.” [Georgetown Center For Children And Families, 2/17/21

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to Join Protect Our Care to Mark the 11th Anniversary of ACA

***MEDIA ADVISORY FOR TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 2021 AT 3:15 PM ET // 12:15 PM PT ***

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to Join Protect Our Care to Mark the 11th Anniversary of ACA

ACA Provides Critical Health Care Protections, Is Invaluable Lifeline for Americans During the Pandemic

Washington, DC —  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will join Protect Our Care and a health care storyteller from Georgia for an online event about how the Affordable Care Act has benefitted millions of Americans since its passage 11 years ago, and the work still needed to ensure all Americans have access to affordable, quality health care. Speakers will discuss the historic nature of the ACA, its impact on Americans’ lives, and how the health care law is stronger than ever after the enhancements passed in the American Rescue Plan, which expand coverage and lower costs.

WHO:
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Leslie Dach, Chair of Protect Our Care
Himali Patel, Georgia small business owner who relies on the ACA

WHAT: Online Event with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to Mark the 11th Anniversary of the ACA

WHERE: Register for the Event Here

WHEN: Tuesday, March 23 at 3:15 PM ET // 12:15 PM PT

ACA At 11: Reduced Disparities In Health Care

Protect Our Care Is Marking the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act With 11 Days Celebrating the Success of the Health Care Law

Eleven years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land and millions of people gained coverage and critical protections as a result. The ACA helped reduce longstanding racial disparities in coverage rates, improving health care access for communities of color across the board. In addition to increasing coverage and improving financial security, the law has helped narrow racial disparities in maternal health, cancer care, and more. 

After four long years of Republican efforts to repeal and sabotage the law, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are now working to build on the strong foundation of the ACA to expand coverage, lower costs, and reduce racial disparities in health care. On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. The health care measures in the American Rescue Plan will have profound impacts in racial disparities in health care access and outcomes, particularly as COVID-19 has hit communities of color much harder than others. Further expansion of the health care law will protect individuals who get sick and help communities slow the spread of the virus by helping detecting cases sooner and getting more people vaccinated. Protect Our Care recently released a report detailing how the American Rescue Plan works to reduce racial disparities in health care. 

Thanks To The ACA: 

The ACA Helped Lower The Uninsured Rate For African Americans By More Than One Third. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the ACA helped lower the uninsured rate for nonelderly African Americans by more than one third between 2013 and 2016 from 18.9 percent to 11.7 percent. A recent study by the Urban Institute found that Medicaid expansion was associated with improving access to care and cutting uninsurance in half among young adults, with particularly dramatic coverage gains for young Black adults.

Latinos Saw Higher Coverage Gains Than Any Other Racial Or Ethnic Group. The percentage of people gaining health insurance under the ACA was higher for Latinos than for any other racial or ethnic group in the country. According to a study from Families USA, 5.4 million Latinos would lose coverage if the health care law were overturned.  

The ACA Cut The Uninsurance Rate For Asian Americans By More Than Half. A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund found that the ACA cut uninsurance rates among Asian Americans by more than half, from nearly 20 percent in 2010 to just 7.9 percent in 2018.  

The ACA’s Medicaid Expansion Reduced Racial Disparities In Health Care: 

Medicaid Expansion has been key to improving racial equity in health insurance coverage and access to care. Expansion has also been tied to improvements in disease-specific diagnosis and treatment. 

  • Reduced Racial Disparities In Health Insurance Coverage And Access To Care. The ACA led to historic reductions in racial disparities in access to health care, but racial gaps in insurance coverage narrowed the most in states that adopted Medicaid expansion. Per the Commonwealth Fund: “Coverage disparities in expansion states narrowed the most over the period…The black–white coverage gap in those states dropped from 8.4 percentage points to 3.7 points, while the difference between Hispanic and white uninsured rates fell from 23.2 points to 12.7 points.” Additionally, the ACA significantly reduced racial disparities in the share of people who went without care because of cost. 
  • Reduced Disparities In Infant And Maternal Health. Multiple studies draw the connection between Medicaid expansion and reduced infant and maternal mortality rates. One study found that reductions in maternal mortality in expansion states were concentrated among Black mothers, “suggesting that expansion could be contributing to decreasing racial disparities in maternal mortality.” Expansion has also been tied to improving health outcomes for black babies, significantly reducing racial disparities in low birth weight and premature birth. 
  • Improvements In Disease-Specific Diagnosis And Treatment. Medicaid expansion reduced racial disparities in cancer care and resulted in earlier diagnosis and treatment for Black patients. Medicaid expansion also improved access to care for patients of color with kidney disease. According to the Center for American Progress, Black women were more likely to receive care because of the ACA. 

ACA At 11: Health Care For People With Disabilities

Protect Our Care Is Marking the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act With 11 Days Celebrating the Success of the Health Care Law

Eleven years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land and millions of people gained coverage and critical protections as a result. By expanding Medicaid and introducing key protections, the ACA has improved coverage and health care access for the 61 million people with disabilities across the country. 

After four long years of Republican efforts to repeal and sabotage the ACA, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are now working to build on the strong foundation of the health care law to expand coverage, lower costs, and reduce racial disparities in health care. On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in more than a decade. Solidifying and expanding the ACA is especially important as millions of Americans have contracted the COVID-19, with some “long haulers” facing the possibility of lifelong disabilities. Without the ACA’s protections, survivors of COVID-19 would likely be deemed as having a pre-existing condition and be at the mercy of their insurance companies who could refuse to pay for needed care. 

The Affordable Care Act Provided Affordable Coverage And Health Security To People With Disabilities: 

The ACA Prevents Insurance Companies From Charging Americans With A Disability More, Or Denying Them Coverage Altogether. Prior to the ACA, insurance companies were allowed to charge people more or deny coverage simply because they had a pre-existing condition. The ACA banned this practice, requiring that insurance companies offer people coverage regardless of their health status. Without the ACA, premium surcharges could once again be in the six figures for some conditions. 

Thanks To The ACA, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Impose Annual And Lifetime Limits On Coverage. Before the ACA, insurance companies could restrict the dollar amount of benefits someone could use per year or over a lifetime. At the time the ACA was passed, 91 million Americans had health care through their employers that imposed lifetime limits. Many such plans capped benefits at $1 million, functionally locking people with complex medical needs out of coverage. 

Under The ACA, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Practice Medical Underwriting, A Process That Lets Insurers Make It Harder For People With Disabilities To Get The Coverage They Needed. Before the ACA, insurance companies could screen applicants for any conditions that might be costly to the company. If someone had condition that was predicted to cost the insurer more, the company would follow a practice called “medical underwriting” that allowed them to charge the applicant a higher premium, specifically exclude coverage for the condition that was expected to be costly, charge the applicant a higher deductible, or limit the applicant’s benefits (for instance, offer a policy that did not cover prescription drugs).

The ACA Requires Insurance Companies To Cover Basic Health Services. The Affordable Care Act established the ten essential health benefits, requiring insurance companies to cover rehabilitative or habilitative services, hospitalization, maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health services, and more. Before the ACA, many people with disabilities had insurance that didn’t cover basic health care needs.

The ACA Allowed States To Expand Medicaid — A Lifeline For People With Disabilities. Nearly 8.7 million adults enrolled in Medicaid have a disability. Of this group, only 43 percent qualify for supplemental security income (SSI). The remaining 5 million beneficiaries do not receive SSI and therefore do not qualify for coverage based on their disability status alone, meaning they rely on the ACA’s Medicaid expansion or eligibility as low-income parents. 

The ACA Boosted Employment For People With Disabilities

Thanks to the ACA, people with disabilities have more flexibility to leave jobs or change career paths without fear of losing access to comprehensive health care. Per the Center for American Progress: “People with disabilities no longer had to weigh serious concerns about accessing coverage—which in the past may have caused them to stay in a job that paid poorly or that they had advanced beyond professionally or even to take a job out of state that offered the benefits they needed. The ACA helped guarantee the disability community was not disproportionately penalized when pursuing a career based on their own desires and personal choices rather than out of fear of losing health care.”

Study: Medicaid Expansion Increased Employment For People With Disabilities.Individuals with disabilities are significantly more likely to be employed if they live in a state that has expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study has found. Researchers at the University of Kansas co-authored a study that found a 6 percentage-point difference in employment rates among working-age adults with disabilities in states that expanded Medicaid and those that chose not to.” [The University Of Kansas, 12/21/16

ACA At 11: Lower Drug Costs

Protect Our Care Is Marking the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act With 11 Days Celebrating the Success of the Health Care Law

Eleven years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land and millions of people gained coverage and critical protections as a result. In addition to expanding coverage to more than 20 million Americans, the ACA improved health care affordability, particularly for patients purchasing prescription drugs. Between 2010 and 2018, the share of non-elderly adults with problems filling a prescription fell by 27 percent, while those with a problem paying a medical bill fell by 17 percent, the share who skipped a test or treatment fell by 24 percent, and the share who didn’t visit a provider when needing care fell by 19 percent.

After four long years of Republican efforts to repeal and sabotage the ACA, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are now working to build on the strong foundation of the health care law to expand coverage, lower costs, and reduce racial disparities in health care. On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. Making health insurance more affordable and accessible is especially important as the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic and millions have lost their jobs and their health insurance.

The ACA Included Key Provisions To Help Reduce Drug Prices: 

  • GAINED: Requirements that insurance companies cover prescription drugs. 
  • GAINED: Nearly 12 million seniors pay less for prescription drugs. 
  • GAINED: More than 60 million people gained access to birth control with no out-of-pocket fees. 
  • GAINED: Rules that increase competition in the prescription drug market and help Americans access cheaper drugs. 
  • GAINED: Consumer protections that prohibit drug companies from paying off doctors behind closed doors to influence the drugs they prescribe to patients.

Guaranteed Coverage Of Prescription Drugs. Because of the ACA, insurers have to cover what are known as “essential health benefits,” such as maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health treatment. 

Lower Drug Costs For Seniors. Because of the ACA, the Medicare prescription drug donut hole is closed. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services report.

More Than 60 Million Gained Access To Birth Control With No Out-Of-Pocket Fees. The ACA guarantees that private health plans cover 18 methods of contraception and make them available to 62.4 million patients with no out-of-pocket costs. More than 99 percent of sexually-active women have used contraceptives at some point in their lifetimes, and approximately 60 percent of women of reproductive age currently use at least one birth control method. In addition to increasing access to this essential treatment, this ACA provision has saved money for women and their families: women saved $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone in 2013.

Patients Have Access To Cheaper Drugs. The ACA’s Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act paved the way for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve biosimilars, cheaper alternatives to expensive biologics. This provision is projected to save $54 billion between 2017 and 2026.

Drug Companies Are Barred From Paying Doctors Behind Closed Doors (To Prescribe Drugs You Don’t Necessarily Need). Thanks to the ACA’s Physician Payments Sunshine Act, Big Pharma can no longer make payments and offer gifts to doctors behind closed doors. When these payments are made with no transparency, they can create conflicts of interest and blur the line between objective and promotional research. 

ACA At 11: Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions

Protect Our Care Is Marking the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act With 11 Days Celebrating the Success of the Health Care Law

Eleven years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land and millions of people gained coverage and critical protections as a result. Because of the ACA, insurers in the individual market can no longer drop or deny coverage, or charge people more because of a pre-existing condition. More than 135 million Americans have a pre-existing health condition, such as asthma, diabetes, or cancer. 

After four long years of Republican efforts to repeal and sabotage the law, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are now working to build on the strong foundation of the ACA to expand coverage, lower costs, and reduce racial disparities in health care. On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. Solidifying and expanding the ACA is especially important as millions of Americans have contracted the COVID-19; without the health law’s protections, survivors of COVID-19 would likely be deemed as having a pre-existing condition and be at the mercy of their insurance companies who could refuse to pay for needed care. 

At the same time, millions have lost their jobs and their employer-sponsored coverage during the pandemic, and experts say an overwhelming majority have been able to get covered under the ACA — through the marketplaces or through Medicaid expansion. Every single one of these individuals now relies on the ACA’s protections for pre-existing conditions. 

The ACA Includes Four Key Provisions That Protect People With Pre-Existing Conditions: 

  • COVERAGE GUARANTEE: Rule that forbids insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. 
  • COST: Rule that prevents insurers from charging people with pre-existing conditions more. 
  • ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS: Requirements that insurance companies cover essential health benefits, such as prescription drugs and maternity care.
  • LIFETIME CAPS: Ban on insurance companies having lifetime caps on coverage.

The ACA Prevents Insurance Companies From Charging Americans With A Pre-Existing Condition More, Or Denying Them Coverage Altogether. Prior to the ACA, insurance companies were allowed to charge people more or deny coverage simply because they had a pre-existing condition. The ACA banned this practice, requiring that insurance companies offer people coverage regardless of their health status. Without the ACA, premium surcharges could once again be in the six figures for some conditions. 

The ACA Guarantees Comprehensive Coverage. Because of the ACA, insurers have to cover what are known as “essential health benefits,” such as maternity care, prescription drugs, and substance and mental health. Importantly, ACA-compliant plans must cover COVID-19 testing, treatment, and hospitalization. Before the ACA, individual market plans often failed to cover these basic health services.  

The ACA Ended Annual And Lifetime Limits, Including For People With Employer-Based Coverage. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer put annual or lifetime limits on the care you receive. At the time the ACA was passed, 91 million Americans had health care through their employers that imposed lifetime limits. Many such plans capped benefits at $1 million, functionally locking people with complex medical needs out of coverage. 

A Closer Look At Who Has Pre-Existing Conditions In The U.S.

Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies routinely denied people coverage because of a pre-existing condition or canceled coverage when a person got sick. According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, roughly half of nonelderly Americans, or as many as 135 million people, have a pre-existing condition. This includes:

  • 44 million people who have high blood pressure
  • 45 million people who have behavioral health disorders
  • 44 million people who have high cholesterol
  • 34 million people who have asthma and chronic lung disease
  • 34 million people who have osteoarthritis and other joint disorders

More than 17 million children, 68 million women, and 32 million people aged 55-64 have a pre-existing condition.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 54 million people, or 27 percent of adults aged 18 to 64, have a condition that would have been grounds for coverage denial in the pre-ACA marketplace. Recent survey data found that six in 10 say they or someone in their household suffers from a pre-existing condition, such as asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure. 

ACA at 11: President Barack Obama to Join Protect Our Care, Health Care Storytellers to Reflect on the Success of the Affordable Care Act 

***MEDIA ADVISORY FOR MONDAY, MARCH 22, 2021 AT 1:15 PM ET ***

ACA at 11: President Barack Obama to Join Protect Our Care, Health Care Storytellers to Reflect on the Success of the Affordable Care Act 

ACA Provided Critical Health Care Protections, Was Invaluable Lifeline for Americans During the Pandemic

Washington, DC — Former President Barack Obama will join Protect Our Care and health care advocates for an online event to discuss how the Affordable Care Act has benefitted millions of Americans since its passage 11 years ago and the work still needed to ensure all Americans have access to affordable, quality health care. The former president will deliver the message that the ACA — one of the most significant legislative achievements of his presidency — is here to stay and stronger than ever with the improvements to the law included in the American Rescue Plan, which expand coverage and lower costs.

WHO:
Former President Barack Obama
Leslie Dach, Chair of Protect Our Care
Laura Packard, Colorado, stage four cancer survivor and health care advocate
Elena Hung, Executive Director & Co-Founder of Little Lobbyists
Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby
Dr. Farhan Bhatti, Committee to Protect Medicare Board Member
Andres Ramirez, Protect Our Care Nevada State Lead
Adam Hoyer, National Organizing Director of Protect Our Care          

WHAT: Online Event with Barack Obama, Health Care Storytellers to Reflect on 11th Anniversary of the ACA

WHERE: Protect Our Care Facebook Live 

WHEN: Monday, March 22 at 1:15 PM ET

Senate Confirms Health Care Champion Xavier Becerra As Health and Human Services Secretary in Bipartisan Vote

Washington, DC — The Senate just voted to confirm President Biden’s historic pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra. Becerra is a highly-qualified nominee with decades of health care experience and a strong advocate of the Affordable Care Act. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“Facing a historic pandemic, Xavier Becerra is the right person at the right time for this job. He is ready to hit the ground running and lead Americans out of this pandemic. In Congress, Becerra worked to expand access and lower costs for health care, and as attorney general, he defended our health care against attacks. Now, as HHS secretary, he’ll do both. Vast majorities of voters in both parties support this administration’s health care agenda, and Republicans who made this a partisan vote are repeating the mistakes that cost them the House, the Senate, and the White House.” 

“The son of working class parents living in a one room apartment, Secretary Becerra knows what Americans who work for a living are going through. He’s dedicated his career to fighting to expand access to health care, protecting underserved communities, and taking on powerful special interests to lower costs. His historic confirmation comes at a time when Americans are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted communities of color. Secretary Becerra was instrumental in the passage of the Affordable Care Act when he was a member of Congress and worked to defend the health care law from baseless Republican attacks as California’s attorney general. As HHS secretary, he will partner with President Biden to get the pandemic under control and build on the success of the ACA by expanding coverage and lowering health care costs.”

ACA At 11: Medicaid Expansion

Protect Our Care Is Marking the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act With 11 Days Celebrating the Success of the Health Care Law

Eleven years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land and millions of people gained coverage and critical protections as a result. The ACA opened the doors for states to expand Medicaid, and the results are piling in: Medicaid expansion works. In addition to covering 15 million people, expansion has resulted in healthier people, communities and economies. 

After four long years of Republican efforts to repeal and sabotage the law, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are now working to build on the strong foundation of the ACA to expand coverage, lower costs, and reduce racial disparities in health care. On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. In addition to providing affordable coverage options for millions of uninsured Americans through the ACA, the American Rescue Plan provides robust financial incentives for the 14 states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid expansion has served as a critical safety net as millions have lost jobs and their employer-based health insurance. Between February and November 2020, states that expanded their programs saw a 22 percent increase in Medicaid enrollment. An estimated four million uninsured adults — including 640,000 frontline workers, 500,000 people with disabilities, and 926,000 older adults aged 50 to 64 — could gain coverage if the remaining holdout states adopted expansion. Importantly, people of color make up nearly 60 percent of this group. 

The Results Are In: Medicaid Expansion Works

Research confirms that Medicaid expansion increases access to care, improves financial security, and leads to better health outcomes. Medicaid expansion has also played a vital role in reducing racial disparities in health care access.

Medicaid Expansion Saves Lives. 

  • Reduced mortality in adults by nearly 4 percent. A study published in the Journal of Health Economics found that Medicaid expansion reduced mortality in people aged 20 to 64 by 3.6 percent.
  • Saved the lives of at least 19,200 older adults. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Medicaid expansion saved the lives of 19,200 adults aged 55 to 64 between 2014 and 2017. At the same time,15,600 older adults died prematurely as a result of their states’ decision not to expand the program. 
  • Reduced cancer and heart-related deaths. While scientific advancements have led to improved prognosis for many diseases, Medicaid expansion increased access to care and, subsequently, improved disease outcomes. Between 1999 and 2017, cancer deaths dropped more in states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the ACA than in states that rejected expansion. Additionally, research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions found that Medicaid expansion was tied to fewer heart-related deaths. 
  • Reduced infant & maternal mortality. Multiple studies draw the connection between Medicaid expansion and reduced infant and maternal mortality rates. One study published in the American Journal of Public Health found the gains made in reducing infant mortality was more than 50 percent greater in states that expanded Medicaid, compared to those that did not. 

Medicaid Expansion Leads To Better Health Outcomes.

  • Improved health of enrollees. A survey of more than 3,000 Michigan Medicaid expansion enrollees found that the percentage of those reporting poor health days decreased over time, with the biggest decreases among Black and low-income patients. Similar research showed that patients in expansion states were less likely to report declining physical and mental health. Additionally, one study shows that tobacco users were more likely to quit in Medicaid expansion states.
  • Improved infant & maternal health. The uninsured rate for women of childbearing age in non-expansion states is nearly double than in states that expanded their programs (16 vs. 9 percent). Research from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families found that Medicaid expansion has helped fill gaps in maternal health coverage, leading to healthier mothers and babies. It also helps new mothers maintain access to coverage and important postpartum care after giving birth. 

Medicaid Expansion Helps People Access Treatment & Preventive Care. 

  • Increased access to preventative care, cancer screenings and disease-specific treatment. Medicaid expansion has helped patients access preventative care, including colon cancer screenings. Expansion also increased patient access to kidney transplants and made diabetes medication more affordable for low-income patients. The program was also tied to earlier diagnosis of colorectal cancer and reducing diabetes-related amputations.
  • Improved access to primary care & family planning. Two studies from Michigan showed that Medicaid expansion doubled low-income patients’ access to primary care, and that enrollees experienced improved access to birth control and family planning. 
  • Increased access to substance abuse treatment. Study after study has shown that Medicaid expansion has increased access to addiction treatment and mental health services. And new research shows that as many as 8,132 people were saved from fatal opioid overdoses as a direct result of Medicaid expansion.
  • Increased coverage for children. When parents have health insurance, their children are more likely to be insured. A study in Health Affairs found that 710,000 children gained public coverage as a result of their parents enrolling in Medicaid between 2013 and 2015. 

Medicaid Expansion Reduces Racial Disparities In Health Care. 

  • Reduced racial disparities in health insurance coverage and access to care. The ACA led to historic reductions in racial disparities in access to health care, but racial gaps in insurance coverage narrowed the most in states that adopted Medicaid expansion. Per the Commonwealth Fund: “Coverage disparities in expansion states narrowed the most over the period…The black–white coverage gap in those states dropped from 8.4 percentage points to 3.7 points, while the difference between Hispanic and white uninsured rates fell from 23.2 points to 12.7 points.” 
  • Reduced disparities in infant and maternal health. One study found that reductions in maternal mortality in expansion states were concentrated among Black mothers, “suggesting that expansion could be contributing to decreasing racial disparities in maternal mortality.” Expansion has also been tied to improving health outcomes for black babies, significantly reducing racial disparities in low birth weight and premature birth. 
  • Better access to care. Medicaid expansion reduced racial disparities in cancer care and resulted in earlier diagnosis and treatment for Black patients. According to the Center for American Progress, Black women were more likely to receive care because of the ACA.

Medicaid Expansion Improves Financial Security. 

  • Reduced income inequality. A January 2021 study from Health Affairs found that the ACA helped reduce income inequality across the board, but much more dramatically in Medicaid expansion states. The bottom 10th percentile of earners In Medicaid expansion states saw a 22.4 percent boost in their income, compared to 11.4 percent in non-expansion states. A study in Health Affairs found that Medicaid Expansion also caused a “significant” reduction in poverty. 
  • Reduced medical debt. The chance of accruing medical debt is 20 percent lower in states that have expanded Medicaid. Additionally, a 2018 National Bureau of Economic Research analysis found that Medicaid expansion led to a nearly $6 billion decline in unpaid medical bills and to higher credit scores. 
  • Lowered uncompensated care costs. Medicaid expansion has saved hospitals an average of $6.4 million In uncompensated care costs. In 2017, uncompensated care costs comprised 6 percent of total expenses for hospitals in states that rejected Medicaid expansiondouble the amount for hospitals located in expansion states. Additional research shows that expansion states saw a reduction in preventable hospitalizations and lower hospital costs. 
  • Increased hospital profits. More than 120 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. The vast majority closed in states that had not expanded Medicaid at the time of the hospital closure. Research confirms that expansion increased rural and safety-net hospital profit margins. 
  • Boosted employment. Reports from Ohio and Michigan found that Medicaid expansion helped enrollees hold down jobs and look for work. Relatedly, a study from the University of Kansas found that people with disabilities are much more likely to be employed in states that have expanded Medicaid coverage. Additionally, the number of people who report not working because of a disability declined in expansion states.