The Supreme Court’s decision to not vote in favor of the plaintiff in King v. Burwell is a major victory for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The 6-to-3 ruling to uphold the ACA means that the federal government is allowed to provide nationwide tax subsidies. Low and moderate income Americans who would have previously struggled to buy health care can now afford it.
If the Supreme Court had voted to not uphold the ACA it would mean the end of health insurance for millions and send thousands into debt. The ACA, while only in it’s second year, is providing affordable coverage to those who were uninsured.
According to data from the Urban Institute, the uninsured have fallen from 16 percent to 7.5 percent. That means 15 million previously uninsured adults were able to afford coverage between September of 2013 and March 2015.
The Affordable Care Act Tracking Survey, sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund, also released results in favor of the ACA. Among adults who live in poverty, the uninsured rate fell from 32 percent to 22 percent and Latinos, an ethnic group with one of the lowest insurance rates, have made gains since September 2013, resulting in a13 percent drop in the uninsured.
For those that were worried about paying medical bills, the ACA has also helped the newly insured pay for the costs of health care.
In May, the Health Reform Monitoring Survey released a survey proving that fewer families are having problems paying their medical bills. Adults ages 18 to 64 who had problems paying medical bills fell 21.3 percent between 2013 and 2015.
In addition, more adults than ever are now using their insurance to access health care. One of the problems ACA faced was the concern that newly covered people might not be able to access a physician or appointments with a physician. According to the Affordable Care Act Tracking Survey, 60 percent of adults who gained coverage under the ACA have been able to access a doctor or fill a prescription. The data also shows that without the ACA, 62 percent of adults would not have been able to access the necessary care that they needed.
For the naysayers who bemoan that fact that the ACA would cost the federal government more than expected, the cost is actually expected to be 20 percent lower in the upcoming years.
In 2010, the Congressional Budget Office actually overestimated how much the ACA would cost. The new projections, which were estimated last year, are approximately $600 billion less than what was expected four years ago.
What about the economy?
Another concern opponents of the ACA had was that providing a nationwide health care law would end in economic chaos. Those that opposed passing the ACA created the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, which was never passed by the Senate. Like it’s title states, the law sought to reverse the ACA on the bases that it would kill jobs. However, the U.S. economy has actually created more jobs since the ACA was passed.
Although the ill will the ACA has drawn from opposition is well-founded, this law has exceeded its goals. Despite efforts to repeal it, despite fear that it will ruin the American economy, this law is working. It has surpassed expectations and is giving millions of Americans the access to health care, a basic necessity that everyone should be able to access.
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