The Affordable Care Act, more commonly known by its acronym obamacare, has produced mixed results. While conservatives criticized its tax increases and higher premiums, those working in healthcare were concerned about additional workload and costs it placed upon medical providers as part of this law.
The Affordable Care Act has helped 31 million Americans gain coverage, as well as lower healthcare costs overall.
1. More People Have Health Insurance
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) seeks to make health insurance more accessible and cost-effective. It accomplishes this goal through several key changes, including requiring companies over a certain size to offer health insurance plans to employees as well as creating state or federal exchanges for people without coverage through work.
All three have helped over 12.7 million individuals gain health coverage under the law, with one major benefit being an increase in employer-based plans enrollment.
2. More People Have Access to Health Care
The Affordable Care Act has greatly simplified accessing health care. This law expanded Medicaid coverage, provided subsidies for private health insurance through exchanges and helped small businesses offer medical benefits to employees.
Even with these significant advancements, some still lack access to healthcare – these individuals are known as uninsured.
3. More People Have Access to Preventive Care
The Affordable Care Act mandates health insurers to cover preventive services like annual physicals and mammograms as part of their coverage obligations, while protecting people with preexisting conditions from insurers charging higher premiums based on their medical history.
Even with increased coverage, many Americans lack adequate financial protection. According to a new Commonwealth Fund survey, many are delaying needed medical treatments and prescriptions in order to avoid unexpected out-of-pocket expenses.
4. More People Have Access to Mental Health Care
Insurance carriers and Medicaid now cover mental health benefits in a manner comparable to physical healthcare costs, making accessing mental healthcare much simpler for those in need of it.
Even with these significant gains, Americans continue to face significant inequities when it comes to mental health access. For instance, those living on low income often don’t receive sufficient coverage for mental health services under their insurance plans.
5. More People Have Access to Dental Care
Dental health care is an essential component of healthy living; yet many Americans lack affordable dental insurance coverage. Medicare and Medicaid could add dental benefits that make dental care more accessible by narrowing this coverage gap and making dental care more accessible and affordable to Americans nationwide.
Dental benefits have been shown to improve oral health among children by helping them access preventive dental care, as well as reducing untreated cavities. Dental benefits may also help promote medical-dental integration where poor oral health may be linked with chronic medical conditions or vice versa.
6. More People Have Access to Vision Care
There has been an increase in access to vision care. Through either health insurance plans or stand-alone plans, more people are getting the eye care they require.
Comparative to those without coverage, those who have Medicaid are 4.2 percentage points more likely to visit an eye doctor in the last year and 7.7 percentage points less likely to report needing eyeglasses/contacts but not purchasing them due to cost. They are also significantly less likely to report difficulty seeing with usual vision correction and 1.5 percentage points less likely to experience functional limitations related to vision relative to those in control groups.
7. More People Have Access to Hearing Care
As more Americans develop hearing loss, so too will the need for hearing healthcare devices and services increase. According to experts, experts predict that adult populations suffering from hearing impairment are projected to almost double within the next two decades.
The Biden administration understands accessibility is a central element of its mission, so they have taken significant steps to make hearing aids more readily available at drastically reduced costs, potentially benefitting millions who need them. This new policy could bring relief.
8. More People Have Access to Pharmacy Care
Many individuals with insurance now can take advantage of their pharmacy benefits as part of their medical plan, enabling them to gain discounts on certain drugs while saving money on copays and deductibles.
Medicaid patients who use prescription drug benefits as part of their health plan can also take advantage of such tools to cut costs and enhance outcomes.
9. More People Have Access to Mental Health Services
Obamacare has helped millions of individuals gain access to mental health services. The law includes federal parity protections that ensure equal coverage of mental and physical conditions, prohibits preexisting condition discrimination and offers financial help for people who cannot afford their insurance premiums.
Medicaid expansion has provided access to care for millions of low-income Americans with behavioral health conditions, leading to cost savings for states as well as less people dropping insurance or forgoing treatment altogether.
10. More People Have Access to Dental Care
One of the greatest successes of Obamacare is seeing more Americans benefiting. By May, an estimated 23 million more people were insured than one year earlier – this increase likely accounts for young adults coming into coverage but nonetheless represents significant progress toward creating a healthier, more prosperous nation. We cannot wait to see what our health care system brings in the coming decade!