BEYOND THE NUMBERS
The House of Representatives plans to vote today yet again on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With that vote pending, it’s a good time to look at some of the law’s key provisions that would die under a repeal.
Yesterday, we listed four pieces of the law that have already taken effect. Today, we take a closer look at four major, positive effects that the law will have over the next several years.
- Dramatic reduction in the number of uninsured. The ACA will reduce the number of uninsured by as many as 33 million by 2022 (see chart). That will ensure that 93 percent of non-elderly legal U.S. residents will have insurance.
- More affordable insurance for individuals and families. Starting in 2014, many people who now struggle to afford health insurance will get help paying for premiums and out-of-pocket costs (like co-payments for doctor visits). This help will come in the form of tax credits to help people buy coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces, called exchanges.
- Important protections for consumers. Starting in 2014, the ACA will bar insurance companies from denying coverage to anyone with pre-existing health conditions (the law’s current ban applies only to children). This means that people who previously were shut out of the health insurance market because they had battled cancer or had had a relatively common procedure such as a c-section will be able to buy insurance and get the care they need. Insurers also won’t be able to charge higher premiums to women or sicker people, and they will be sharply restricted in their ability to charge older people more.
- Progress in continuing to slow the growth of health care costs across the economy. Health care costs have risen more gradually in the last few years, but they continue to put pressure on the budgets of families and businesses, as well as public programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The ACA takes a number of important steps to lower costs throughout the U.S. health care system and improve the quality of care by beginning to change the way health care is delivered. Moreover, it has put Medicare on stronger financial footing, extending its solvency until 2024.