The landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA) recently celebrated the 8th anniversary of its enactment. Despite having extended health insurance coverage to millions of Americans and being more popular than ever (the ACA currently enjoys a favorable 54% approval rating), the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans have repeatedly attempted to undermine and outright repeal the ACA.
The Trump Administration has additionally given states new latitude to impose work requirements, premiums and copayments on non-disabled, adult Medicaid beneficiaries. Such requirements could have a significant negative impact on enrollees; studies have shown that Medicaid coverage actually encourages work, helps individuals avoid crushing medical debt, and has kept millions of Americans out of poverty. Tightening eligibility criteria for adult Medicaid recipients also jeopardizes Medicaid coverage for their children.
In December 2017, Congress eliminated the individual mandate for Americans to purchase health insurance coverage; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that as a result, individual private market premiums will increase by 10% and 13 million Americans will lose coverage. The Trump administration has also proposed rules that would allow for the sale of plans that fail to meet essential health benefits which provide protections for individuals with preexisting conditions. As a result, healthier individuals will be attracted to sparse, less expensive plans, leaving those with more complex health conditions to purchase insurance on the Marketplace. The reliance of sicker individuals on Marketplace plans will further fuel a rise in premiums.
Despite these attempts to undermine critical aspects of the ACA, essential elements of the legislation remain intact, allowing millions more Americans to access critical preventive benefits and other healthcare services. Federal assistance toward the purchase of a Marketplace plan for those with incomes between 100% and 400% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and federal funding for Medicaid expansion continue to increase enrollment, and essential health benefits requirements ensure that Americans receive all of their necessary care.
The continued popularity and resilience of the ACA illustrate the commitment of the American people to continue to advocate for common sense health care reform that increases the number of Americans enrolled in comprehensive health plans, and their continued resolve to reject proposals that jeopardize access to care for the most vulnerable Americans. ANA continues to oppose attempts to undermine the ACA and remains committed to supporting policies that reduce costs, provide comprehensive coverage and encourage enrollment.