Happy Birthday, Affordable Care Act

March 31, 2015

On March 25th, President Obama issued a statement commemorating the 5th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Despite mixed reviews, the numbers speak to its success in achieving its stated goals.

Topping the list, between Medicaid expansion and public exchange enrollment, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Department, an estimated 16.4 million previously uninsured Americans now have health insurance. As the President said in his statement, the ACA “has cut the ranks of the uninsured by one third.”

Here are some other ACA numbers worth noting, courtesy of the federal government:

  • 3 million. The number of young people who didn’t have health coverage before the ACA, but do now because they can stay on their parents’ health plans until they turn 26
  • 9 million. The number of seniors and people with disabilities who have saved an average of $1,600 per person on their prescription medicine — adding up to more than $15 billion since the ACA became law
  • 76 million. The number of Americans who have gained access to preventive care with no additional out-of-pocket costs
  • 50,000. The number of preventable patient deaths avoided in hospitals over the last three years, largely due to the uptick in preventative care
  • 30 million. The number of young adults who can no longer be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition

President Obama acknowledged that it has been a tough five years for the ACA. “The Affordable Care Act has been the subject of more scrutiny, more rumor, more attempts to dismantle and undermine it than just about any law in recent history,” said the President.

However, the ACA survived a challenge to its constitutionality in 2012, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law in a 5-4 decision. If it survives the latest attack, King v. Burwell, which seeks to eliminate federal subsidies for all but the state-run exchanges, it may see less pushback going forward. A decision is due when the Court recesses for the judicial year in June.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

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