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Health Care by the Numbers

Why Defunding the New Health Reform Law Would Harm So Many Americans

Republicans in the House of Representatives this week will offer amendments to the continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the next seven months that will include efforts to block the Department of Health and Human Services from implementing the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Stripping the new health reform law of implementation funding, however, would hurt Americans who have waited too long for the help it will deliver, as well as harm the nation’s economic recovery and long-term competitiveness.

What do Americans think of this effort by House Republicans? And what would be the consequences of defunding the new law for the American people and our economy?

Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the importance of the health reform law to the American people.

Who supports the new health reform law?

57 percent: Americans who want to either leave the law as is (18 percent) or change it so it does more to change the health care system (39 percent)

Who is helped by the Affordable Care Act? Who would be hurt if it is defunded?

People without health insurance and people with pre-existing conditions:

  • 32 million uninsured Americans will obtain coverage under the new law.
  • 11,000 Americans would hit lifetime limits on their insurance policy this year if not for the Affordable Care Act.
  • 102 million Americans with lifetime limits on their insurance policy, if not for the new law.
  • 12.6 million Americans sought health insurance in the individual market but were denied coverage in the past three years.

Small businesses:

  • 16.6 million small-business employees who work in firms that are eligible for tax credits.
  • 18 percent: The additional amount, on average, that small businesses pay for health insurance (as opposed to large firms).

Medicare beneficiaries:

  • $500: Average amount saved this year by people with Medicare prescription drug coverage who hit the prescription drug coverage gap.
  • $1,500: Average amount saved this year by Medicare beneficiaries with very high drug costs.
  • 10 percent: Payment increase for Medicare primary care physicians.

Young adults:

  • 1.2 million young adults under the age of 26 are eligible to obtain coverage by remaining on their parents’ health plans.


  • $2,000: Additional amount that each family would pay per year for their premiums if not for the Affordable Care Act.

Economic gains that will be lost if reform is stalled

Job creation:

  • 400,000 new jobs that will be created each year.
  • 284,000 new jobs that will be created at community health centers, in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country, over the next five years.

Deficit reduction:

  • $143 billion: Amount of deficit reduction in the first 10 years of implementation.
  • $1.2 trillion: Amount of deficit reduction over the next two decades.

Savings and solvency:

  • $2 trillion: Savings in total health spending over the next decade.
  • 12: The number of years of additional solvency for the Hospital Insurance trust fund under the new law. This trust fund covers Medicare Part A benefits, which include inpatient hospital services and post-acute care.

In short, House Republicans’ plans to defund implementation of the Affordable Care Act would fail to rein in health care spending so critical to our nation’s future prosperity. Their efforts would cost our economy new jobs just when we need them the most. And their plan would harm hundreds of millions of Americans who stand to benefit from the new health reform law. Our nation cannot afford such irresponsible actions against a law already on the books—and one a majority of Americans want to see faithfully executed now that it’s the law of the land.

For more information and analysis of the new health reform law, go to the Health Care page of our website.