It’s no secret that a lot of people with political agendas have been working overtime to obscure the value and effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act, known to many as Obamacare. In an effort to help simplify things, I thought I’d offer up some simple facts to cut through the rhetoric. And since I’ve shared numerous updates in the past on what’s happened specifically here in Washington state, today I’ll focus on the larger picture nationally.
As of today, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more than 20 million Americans have the security that comes with quality, affordable health care. And if you’re one of those Americans who until recently was unable to access affordable health care, you know the huge difference that makes.
A total of 8 million people have signed up for health coverage through the state and federal marketplaces. Another 4.8 million people have signed up for coverage through Medicaid. And 3 million young adults have been able to access coverage by staying on their parents’ plans. Outside of the state health care exchanges, another 5 million people have signed up for ACA-compliant plans.
What all these numbers mean in real terms is that economic and health security is now in reach of millions of Americans. For instance:
- Up to 129 million people with pre-existing conditions no longer have to worry about an insurance company denying them coverage.
- In 2011 and 2012 alone, 71 million Americans gained coverage for at least one preventive service like mammograms, birth control or immunizations at no-cost.
- In 2013, 37 million people with Medicare received at least one preventive service at no cost.
- Overall, 60 million Americans have gained expanded mental health and substance abuse treatment.
- Nearly 8 million seniors have saved nearly $10 billion on prescription drugs since the law was enacted by closing the Medicare donut hole.
For those of us who have worked for years to help make these changes possible, the numbers are gratifying. But for those who had gone so long without health coverage or had to pay exorbitant premiums, the changes mean the difference been health and sickness, solvency and bankruptcy, and even life and death.