FACT SHEET: The Supreme Court Upholds Critical Part of the Affordable Care Act
After nearly a century of work, after decades of trying, after a year of sustained debate, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010. Since then, health reform has become the law of the land and after more than five years under the law, it has been woven into the fabric of an improved American health care system, on which Americans can rely throughout life. And it’s probably impacting your life in ways you do not realize. Young adults can stay on their family’s plan. People losing jobs, changing jobs, or breaking out on their own no longer have to worry about whether they can get health insurance. Having a pre-existing condition or being a woman no longer means you pay for more coverage. And, affordability has improved – from insurance that is there for you when you need it to discounts on prescription drugs in Medicare.
Here are examples of how the law has already made the health care system better and is providing all Americans with the peace of mind that comes with health security:
- Better benefits and consumer protections: More than 137 million Americans now have guaranteed access to preventive care, including immunizations, well child visits, certain cancer screenings, and contraceptive services, with no additional out-of-pocket costs as well as no more annual caps on essential benefit coverage and new annual limits on out-of-pocket costs.
- Dramatic decline in the uninsured, including more young adults covered: We’ve seen the largest decline in the uninsured rate since the early 1970s, and the uninsured rate is now at the lowest level recorded across five decades of data. Since several of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage provisions took effect, more than 16 million uninsured people have gained health insurance coverage. Over 4 million young adults have gained coverage, many through the Affordable Care Act’s provision allowing young adults to remain on a parent’s plan to age 26 and its broader expansion of coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces and Medicaid. By the second quarter of 2014, the uninsured rate among young adults had dropped by more than 40 percent. And a recent study found that over 85 percent of individuals newly covered by the ACA like their insurance.
- Safer hospital stays: From 2010 to 2013, an estimated 50,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and approximately $12 billion in health care costs were saved as a result of a reduction in hospital-acquired conditions and hospital patients experienced 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions, a 17 percent decline over the three year period. The Affordable Care Act also improves care received through incentives that promote quality of care and time spent between patients and doctors.
- Savings for seniors: More than 9 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved an average of $1,600 per person on their prescription medicine, over $15 billion in all since the Affordable Care Act became law.
- Numerous affordable coverage options: About 85 percent of those who enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace (about 8.7 million individuals) qualified for an average tax credit of $272 per month. About 8 in 10 of individuals signing up for qualified health plans this year had the option of selecting a plan with a premium of $100 or less after tax credits. And there are more insurance plan options in many areas of the country.
- More covered by Medicaid: As of April 2015, 12.3 million additional Americans were covered under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program compared to the start of October 2013, when the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment began. To date, 28 States and DC have expanded Medicaid.
- Savings for hospitals: Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, hospitals saved an estimated $7.4 billion in 2014 because of less uncompensated care, with about two-thirds of the total savings going to hospitals in States that have expanded Medicaid. Reduced hospital uncompensated care means less of a “hidden tax” for insured Americans.
President Obama’s health care policies have even broader and more transformative implications for the U.S. economy. The ability to buy affordable plans through a competitive Marketplace will allow countless Americans to move, start businesses, and dream big American dreams – without worrying if an illness will bankrupt them. And, slowing health care costs have reduced the Federal budget deficit and enabled businesses to invest in jobs and a growing American economy.
While progress has been made, we will continue to work to make health care even better, starting with making sure people understand and benefit from the law. We will continue to work toward a health care system that results in better care, smarter spending, and healthier people, with an empowered, educated and engaged consumers in the center. This includes promoting preventive care, securing coverage for all Americans, and further driving down the cost of care to keep our economy strong. And we’ll continue to work with the 22 States who have not yet taken advantage of Federal funds to expand Medicaid eligibility to over 4 million Americans in need.