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One Year of the Affordable Care Act: We’ve Come a Long Way

As the Affordable Care Act turns a year old, Americans are experiencing lower health care costs, better quality coverage, and new coverage options.

When President Obama signed the health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, on March 23, 2010, it was a moment that was decades in the making. Presidents from both parties had attempted to reform our health care system and as President Obama said, he wasn’t the first President to try and pass health reform, but he was determined to be the last.

This year, Vice President Biden has recorded a new video looking at the work to pass reform and how the law is already helping the American people.

Passing the law wasn’t easy, but we knew that we were working to end the worst insurance company abuses and give Americans more freedom and control over their health care choices. And the law that is one year old today is already making the health care system better for millions of Americans. Thanks to the new law millions of Americans are already enjoying:

Lower health care costs

  • Seniors have the freedom to get the care they need, including free preventive care, lower cost prescription drugs, and Medicare they can count on. Nearly 4 million Americans who hit the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole” received $250 tax-free rebates, and will receive a 50% discount on brand name prescription drugs if they hit the donut hole this year.
  • Up to 4 million small businesses could receive tax credits to make employees’ health coverage more affordable.
  • Insurance companies can no longer overcharge consumers just to boost profits and CEO salaries.

Better quality coverage

  • People with insurance are free from worrying about losing their insurance due to a mistake on their application – protecting 15 million Americans who purchase individual-market insurance as well as those insured through their employers.  All Americans with private insurance are also free from having coverage  capped unexpectedly due to a lifetime limit if someone is in an accident or becomes sick.
  • All Americans in new insurance plans will receive preventive services without being charged a deductible, co-payment, or co-insurance.

New coverage options

  • Parents have the choice of providing health coverage for a child until their 26th birthday. An estimated 1.2 million young adults could gain insurance coverage as a result of the law.
  • Children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage.
  • Adults who have been locked out of the insurance marketplace because of a pre-existing condition can now buy coverage through a new Pre-Existing Condition Plan.

To find out more about how the law impacts you, check out and its special section on Better Benefits, Better Health.

Nancy-Ann DeParle is Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff.