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Lower Costs, Better Care: Ninth Anniversary of the Passage of the ACA is an Opportunity to Define Health Care Agenda

By March 22, 2019No Comments

Washington, DC – Ahead of the ninth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this Saturday, March 23, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“As we mark the ninth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to remind ourselves what the law has accomplished and what President Trump and his allies in Congress want to take away. While the President doubles down on his efforts to repeal our health care and release a budget with nearly $2 trillion in devastating cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, Democrats are moving forward with an aggressive agenda to lower costs and improve care.

“The Democratic agenda will protect people with pre-existing conditions, lower drug costs, and make health care more affordable. It will stop surprise bills, end price gouging for everyday drugs like insulin, and give Medicare the ability to negotiate for lower drug prices. While Democrats take concrete steps forward, Republicans are dead-set on taking us backwards, doing everything they can to sabotage health care, and put the interests of drug and insurance companies ahead of the needs of the American people.”


Here is how the Affordable Care Act is working across the country:

More than 20 million Americans gained health coverage. Because of the ACA, more than 20 million Americans gained health coverage.

13 million people have coverage through the individual market. 13.3 million people are covered by marketplace or non-marketplace plans subject to ACA consumer protections. 82 percent of those enrolled through the marketplace are satisfied with their plans.

Insurers can no longer deny or drop coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Because of the ACA, insurers in the individual market can no longer drop or deny coverage, or charge you more because of a pre-existing condition. More than 130 million Americans have a pre-existing health condition.

Women no longer charged more than men. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer charge women more than men for the same care, and insurers are now required to cover important health benefits like maternity care. Before the ACA, 75 percent of non-group plans refused to cover maternity care. 

Ended annual and lifetime limits. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer put annual or lifetime limits on the care you receive.

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.

Allowed states to expand Medicaid. Because of the ACA, states can get additional federal money to expand Medicaid. 17 million Americans have coverage through Medicaid expansion.

Free preventive care. Because of the ACA, health plans must cover preventive services — like flu shots, cancer screenings, contraception, and mammograms – at no cost to consumers. This includes nearly 137 million Americans, most of whom have employer coverage.

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.

Tax credits are available to help people afford coverage. Because of the ACA, most people getting coverage on the marketplace qualify for tax credits to help pay for coverage. 8.9 million of the ACA’s 11.8 million marketplace enrollees receive premium tax credits.

Improved Access To Care And Financial Security. Between 2010 and 2018, the share of non-elderly adults with a problem paying a medical bill fell by 17 percent, the share who didn’t fill a prescription fell by 27 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.

Helping seniors afford prescription drugs. Because of the ACA, the Medicare prescription drug donut hole is closed. As a result, 4.9 million U.S. seniors are saving $5.7 billion on drugs in 2017, an average of $1,149 per beneficiary.

Helping increase access to employer-sponsored coverage. The Affordable Care Act’s individual and employer mandates are credited with helping increase rates of employer-sponsored health insurance. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that between 2013 and 2017, seven million more people gained employer coverage, nearly as many as gained coverage through the ACA marketplaces.