Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have been marred by errors, miscalculations and costly mistakes – yet, ultimately they have run up against one of politics’ fundamental truths: every winner comes with his or her own set of losers.
The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, has enabled millions of Americans to gain health coverage. It narrows the disparities between rich and poor by expanding Medicaid eligibility and offering subsidies for buying private health plans on electronic marketplaces.
Health care coverage
The Affordable Care Act has dramatically expanded options for health insurance coverage, saved lives and made significant advancements to health care systems nationwide. But these gains may now be jeopardized as the Trump administration takes steps to dismantle and rollback ten years of progress made under this law.
Millions of Americans have gained coverage due to the Affordable Care Act, including those with pre-existing conditions who were once denied coverage by insurers. Furthermore, due to new consumer protections which prevent insurers from dropping you when you become sick or charging more based on age or gender.
Even amid high-profile challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), its benefits continue to outweigh its costs – one reason why a majority of voters support keeping this law.
Health care costs
Few patients account for a disproportionate share of health care costs; yet most who access healthcare don’t suffer from chronic illnesses that require extensive treatments and therefore don’t spend as much. That doesn’t mean the ACA hasn’t done its job: it has done exactly that!
In the inaugural year of ACA marketplaces, nearly 9 out of 10 enrollees received financial help to offset their premium costs. That figure has increased considerably this year; 16 million Americans owe nothing after subsidies have been applied.
The Affordable Care Act also reduced the uninsured rate from 16 percent on its passage date to nine percent today due to expanding coverage and eliminating preexisting condition rejections; this isn’t due to lower prices; in fact, health care costs and premiums have steadily risen for decades now.
Health care quality
The Congressional Budget Office projects that the nation will spend less on health care overall in 2023 than it did in 2012. While not exclusively due to Obamacare policies, its effects have certainly had a beneficial effect.
Health care costs have grown more slowly than anticipated thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s efforts at controlling them. Insurers were required to cover certain medically necessary services and exchanges were established where middle-income Americans could get tax credits to help afford coverage.
However, cost control measures have generated their fair share of political opposition. Conservatives, for example, have complained that marketplaces restrict choice and competition without offering any viable solutions; moreover, many of them have moved away from rhetorical battles over repeal in favor of fighting to reduce Medicare spending – a more practical approach to health policy that may prove more sustainable over time.
Health care access
Even after years of Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it remains vital in expanding health insurance coverage and managing runaway costs – both noteworthy achievements worthy of more public recognition.
Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), preexisting conditions could result in being denied coverage or charged more. Furthermore, patients could be dropped midway through treatment and had little means of challenging insurance company decisions. But now you can enroll in a marketplace plan, obtaining better health coverage while enjoying more consumer protections.
One benefit of the marketplace is being able to easily compare prices; something not easily achievable under third-party payer systems. And the Affordable Care Act has greatly expanded access to preventive services like screenings and immunizations. Conservatives should employ “radical incrementalism”, where small changes gradually add up to big ones; price transparency is a prime example – an initiative with overwhelming public support that empowers patients when making healthcare decisions.