The House of Representatives votes today on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday we listed five pieces of the law that have already taken effect — and that we would lose if Congress repealed health reform. Below are five major, positive effects that the law will have over the next several years — but which we won’t achieve if health reform is repealed.
- Dramatic reduction in the number of uninsured. The Affordable Care Act will reduce the number of uninsured by 32 million by 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Ninety-five percent of non-elderly legal residents of the United States will have insurance because of the law.
- More affordable insurance for individuals and families. Starting in 2014, many people who currently 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 that will be available to help people buy coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces, called exchanges.
- Important protections for consumers. Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act 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 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 will be sharply restricted in their ability to charge older people more.
- Significant deficit reduction. Repealing health reform would increase deficits by $230 billion over the next ten years, according to CBO, and by significantly more in the following decade. That’s because the Affordable Care Act includes specific reductions in spending for Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs as well as additional tax revenues. These spending reductions and new revenues more than pay for the law’s expansion of insurance coverage.
- Progress in slowing the growth in health care costs across the economy. Rising health care costs are putting pressure on the budgets of families and businesses, as well as public programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act takes a number of important steps to lower costs and improve the quality of care by beginning to change the way health care is delivered. Moreover, it will put Medicare on stronger financial footing, extending its solvency by 12 years through 2029.