WASHINGTON – As some presidential candidates and Members of Congress push for new government-controlled health insurance systems – like Medicare for all, the public option and Medicare buy-in – which would threaten Americans’ access to quality health care, new data reveals the tremendous strides our current system has made in expanding access and strengthening the quality of care.
Nearly a decade after its implementation, there is “an emerging mosaic of evidence that … the ACA is making some Americans healthier – and less likely to die,” The Washington Post reports. They write:
With about 20 million Americans now covered through private health plans under the ACA’s insurance marketplaces or Medicaid expansions, researchers have been focusing on a question that was not an explicit goal of the law: whether anyone is healthier as a result … It is difficult to prove conclusively that the law has made a difference in people’s health, but strong evidence has emerged in the past few years. Compared with similar people who have stable coverage through their jobs, previously uninsured people who bought ACA health plans with federal subsidies had a big jump in detection of high blood pressure and in the number of prescriptions they had filled, according to a 2018 study in the journal Health Affairs. And after the law allowed young adults to stay longer on their parents’ insurance policies, fewer 19- to 25-year-olds with asthma failed to see a doctor because it cost too much, according to an analysis of survey results published earlier this year by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And an updated analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that today, “almost 54 million people – or 27% of all adults under 65 – have pre-existing health conditions that would likely have made them uninsurable in the individual markets that existed in most states before the Affordable Care Act.”
Today, thanks to the private and public programs working together, roughly 90 percent of Americans are covered, patients with pre-existing conditions are protected and young adults can stay on their parents’ health plans until they are 26 years old. And 80 percent of Americans rate the quality of the health care they receive as “excellent” or “good.” So instead of starting over with an unaffordable and risky government-controlled health insurance system, let’s continue to make progress by building on what’s working and fixing what isn’t.