Defending the Affordable Care Act, five years later

Defending the Affordable Care Act, five years later

WASHINGTON—Today, the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) released the following statement celebrating the fifth anniversary of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“For all those who have sought proof of the ACA’s potential, look no further than the 16.4 million people who have gained health insurance as a result of the law,” said Elizabeth G. Taylor, NHeLP executive director. “Women no longer can be charged higher premiums than men for the same plan and people with preexisting conditions cannot be denied coverage. The uninsured rate for non-elderly adults has fallen by 35 percent in the last year and a half and that number is even higher among African American adults.”

“And yet, at a time of incredible gains in coverage, we are still defending the ACA in courtrooms across the country,” added Taylor. “Some opponents of the law have attacked the preventive services requirements that are so important to women’s health. Meanwhile, other opponents have their most recent challenge pending before the Supreme Court, King v. Burwell, which seeks to undo the tax subsidies that are essential to the broad coverage that Congress drafted the ACA to provide. If the challengers in King win, we stand to slide back to a time when the struggling and sick were out of luck.”

NHeLP has supported and defended the ACA since its passage, including working with federal and state policy makers and advocates to ensure that the law works as Congress intended. NHeLP, in partnership with AARP, filed an amicus brief in King supporting the availability of the ACA’s tax credits in all Marketplaces. The brief focuses on the importance of the ACA to pre-Medicare older adults, and details how the tax credits are crucial to achieving the ACA’s mission of providing near-universal health coverage. 

The ACA is working. The rate of emergency room visits for young people has dropped 1.4 percent. The ACA has reduced uninsurance to a historic low by expanding eligibility for Medicaid to low-income adults as well as private coverage to those of higher incomes. It has ushered in important civil rights protections in the health care arena and improved access to essential preventive care. 

NHeLP remains committed to full implementation of the ACA.  We will work with our allies to resist efforts to undermine or repeal the ACA, including the Medicaid expansion that has proven to be a lifeline for millions.  

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